The Islamic State has experienced severe new constraints on recruitment and financing in recent months, according to new figures released by the U.S. military. The flow of foreign fighters to join the group in Syria has fallen precipitously — by 90 percent over the past year — the deputy commander for operations and intelligence, Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, said yesterday. The Islamic State is estimated to receive 200 new foreign recruits a month, from 2,000 a month this time last year. Additionally, Gersten noted, U.S. airstrikes have destroyed between $500 and $800 million of the Islamic State’s cash reserves by striking stockpiles.
That has placed financial strain on the group and defectors from the group say fighters have had their salaries halved or are no longer being paid.
In addition to the new deployment of 250 Special Forces troops to Syria, to join 50 already on the ground, the United States will also send mobile rocket-launching vehicles to the Turkish border. The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) will also be sent to and used in Iraq to assist in military operations near Mosul. www.mesop.de