International efforts to curtail activities of the Islamic State (ISIL) have failed as more than 30,000 new recruits have entered Syria to join in the conflict, according to a report from the New York Times on Saturday.
As United States and Russian officials wrangle over proposals for possible joint military cooperation against the group in Syria, ISIL has increased its ranks in Syria with tens of thousands of newly-recruited militants. This comes amid reports that Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria are setting up a joint information center to combat the widening threat of the terror group.
Since the beginning of 2015, the influx of foreign jihadists has doubled, hampering global efforts to contain the group, straining manpower and the resources of several countries. According to the report, “an international effort to tighten borders, share intelligence and enforce anti-terrorism laws is not diminishing the ranks of new militant fighters.” ISIL is among several groups in Syria attempting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S is equipping, arming and training so-called “moderate” rebels to fight Syrian government forces and ISIL while Assad’s longtime ally, Russia, recently stepped up its military presence in an effort to shore up Syria’s crumbling government.
There are also lingering concerns that lack of American and Russian military coordination could lead to accidental engagements between forces. The U.S. is conducting a bombing campaign inside Syrian airspace against ISIL ground forces. Russia has transported attack helicopters and warplanes to its newly-built airbase in Latakia and Russian soldiers are now believed to be fighting alongside pro-government forces.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the United Nations on Tuesday to give an assessment of the situation. Intelligence sources report that ISIL has recruited militants from more than 100 countries since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. In addition to Obama’s U.N. address, a blistering report from a bi-partisan congressional investigation on terrorist and foreign fighter travel is also set to be released on Tuesday. The panel purportedly concluded that concerted efforts have largely failed to prevent American citizens from traveling overseas to join jihadists, according to the New York Times report.
In yet another stunning blow to the Obama administration’s efforts in Syria, the Pentagon has spent more than $500 million equipping rebels to fight against ISIL however, the results of that effort has so far produced unsatisfactory results, with only a handful of combat-ready fighters produced. The Obama administration’s Syrian policy also suffered a black eye when reports surfaced that U.S.-trained rebel forces were defecting to ISIL. The latest reported defections occurred back in January when 3,000 Free Syrian Army fighters are said to have pledged allegiance to ISIL and its self-proclaimed caliph Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdad, according to The Arab Source News.