With northeast Syria engulfed in the fog of war, the Turks, Russians, and Kurds have all launched their own propaganda campaigns to win the battle over information.

One of the biggest unknowns at the moment involves exactly how many ISIS fighters and their families previously captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces have managed to escape since Turkey invaded Kurdish-held Syria on Oct. 6, 2019.

But while Defense Secretary Mark Esper has blamed Turkey for catalyzing the release of "many dangerous ISIS detainees", a senior administration official was unable to say on Monday exactly how many ISIS prisoners may have escaped.

Based on open source reporting, about 850 women and children affiliated with ISIS are believed to have fled a detainee camp at Ayn Issa and another five ISIS prisoners escaped from a prison at Qamishli, said Brandon Wallace, a counterterrorism analyst with the Institute for the Study of War think tank in Washington, D.C.

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U.S. Navy/MC1 Samuel Souvannason

Russia has become so good at information warfare that American and allied military leaders are (rightfully) starting to freak out about it.

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Associated Press/Vadim Ghirda

So reports Army Col. Liam Collins in the August issue of ARMY magazine. Here’s how it works:

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US Air Force/Senior Airman Mariette Adams

Our nation is in a latent war in the information sphere. Fake News, troll farms, and bots — encouraged by nation states like Russia — are undermining Western political and social edifices. This real and pervasive attack is weakening both state and international security. At the same time, the American public has not been successfully mobilized to support a war effort since World War II. Many Americans want to “do something” about the current state of affairs.

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