Julian Lewis – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Prime Minister

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Julian Lewis on 2015-11-26.

To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to oral statement of 26 November 2015, which main groups comprise the 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria he referred to in that statement; what estimate the Government has made of the number of fighters in each such group; and what the political and religious description is of each such group.

Mr David Cameron

We estimate that there are around 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters on the ground who do not belong to extremist groups, many of whom are linked to the Free Syrian Army. In addition to these 70,000, there are around 20,000 Kurdish fighters in Syria, who are also playing an important role in combating ISIL. The information we have on individual groups which forms the basis of this estimate is drawn in large part from intelligence. It would not be to the benefit of these non-extremist opposition fighters if we were to make it public to ISIL and the Syrian regime. We have very close intelligence relationships with a range of allies and partners, and share assessments with them as a matter of course.