Reports: 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria

A Syrian flag flying amid rubble.
The Syrian flag flies in a neighborhood near Damascus previously held by ISIS. Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

There are believed to be around 30,000 ISIS fighters across Iraq and Syria, according to two new reports from the Pentagon and the U.N., far higher than previous estimates.

Between the lines: Michael Dempsey, former acting director of national intelligence now at CFR, writes for Axios that ISIS is focused "on keeping a toehold in Iraq and Syria and embedding its supporters into local populations."

Journalist Austin Tice thought to be alive six years after kidnapping

Marc and Debra Tice hold up photos of their son Austin at a press conference.
Marc and Debra Tice holding photos of their son, Austin. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. government believes Austin Tice, the freelance journalist and Marine Corps veteran from Texas who was kidnapped in Syria six years ago Tuesday, is still alive.

The big picture: Little is known about Tice's whereabouts or who his captors are. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday that the department is "actively working" to bring him home. Tice, whose work was published by the Washington Post and McClatchy, was detained three days after his 31st birthday, near Damascus.