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According to him, the critical problem now is countering the organization’s activity. “According to our estimates, the Islamic State formations operating in Syria and Iraq now comprise up to 70,000 gunmen of various nationalities,” said the chief of the Russian General Staff.
“It is noteworthy that it is the United States that had previously provided financial and technical assistance to this group in the fight against the Syrian government,” he said.
“Washington at present is creating an international coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve, as well as launching airstrikes on the Islamic State groupings in Iraq and Syria. The White House in the meantime has made statements that only a ground operation is capable of inflicting a considerable blow on the terrorist group forces,” Gerasimov said.
Islamic State is a radical Islamist group which has seized territory across northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria. Its brutal tactics - including mass killings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the beheadings of soldiers and journalists - have sparked fear and outrage across the world and prompted US military intervention.