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Mar 30, 4:35 AM EDT

Syrian president says IS is expanding despite airstrikes


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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad says the Islamic State group has been expanding since a U.S.-led coalition began its airstrikes on the group in Iraq and Syria last year.

In an interview with CBS News aired Sunday night, Assad said IS has been gaining more recruits with some estimates showing "1,000 recruits every month in Syria."

Assad, using an alternative acronym for the IS group, said in the interview: "If you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes."

Assad added that IS has established a presence in Libya and that militant groups in Egypt and Yemen have claimed allegiance or loyalty to the group.

The Islamic militant group controls about a third of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared caliphate.

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