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Center for the Analysis of Terrorism

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 3, 2017, Iraqi fighters of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation units) stand next to a wall bearing the Islamic State (IS) group flag as they enter the city of al-Qaim, in Iraq's western Anbar province near the Syrian border as they fight against remnant pockets of Islamic State group jihadists. Between 20,000 and 30,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria despite the jihadist group's defeat and a halt in the flow of foreigners joining its ranks, according to a UN report released on August 13, 2018. The report by UN sanctions monitors estimates that between 3,000 and 4,000 IS jihadists were based in Libya while some of the key operatives in the extremist group were being relocated to Afghanistan./ AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Counting Islamic State members, an impossible task

Dramatically weakened on the ground, the Islamic State group faces military defeat in its one-time "caliphate" -- but experts say it is almost impossible to know how many members it still has.

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