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ISIS

CIA: ISIS now has an estimated 31,000 fighters

CIA: ISIS now has an estimated 31,000 fighters

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's brutal PR campaign seems to be working: On Thursday, the CIA said that the terrorist group "can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria," or about triple the previous estimates of ISIS's strength.

The new estimate is "based on a new review of all-source intelligence reports from May to August," says CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani. "This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence." ISIS's battlefield successes are reflected in its territorial gains. Here's a recent map of ISIS-controlled areas, from the Institute for the Study of War. --Peter Weber