Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

US Special Forces have joined an ongoing battle against ISIS militants in the southern Philippines town of Marawi, following months of tension between Washington and Manila.

The assistance was offered at the request of the Philippine government, according to an emailed statement that didn't give details of the support.

The military hopes to "liberate" the besieged city by June 12 from the militants. Local residents, according to the commission are reporting that members of the criminal Maute militant group are now engaged in the ransacking of their abandoned homes.

President Rodrigo Duterte said the militant attack was part of a wider plot by ISIS to establish a base in the southern region of Mindanao, and declared martial law in Mindanao to quell the threat. The extremists allegedly used hostages as human shields during the firefight which lasted for 14 hours. The casualties were confirmed by Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera.

The United States and the Philippines have been allies for decades. Portions of the only Islamic city in the country are falling into debris after successive aerial bombardments of the government forces against its enemies ensued running for several weeks now, but the government said they are now planning on rehabilitation and recovery.

Ties between the U.S. and the Philippines have been strained since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June a year ago.

The US has been helping the Philippines in its campaign against terrorism. The gunmen have also had a surprisingly large arsenal of military hardware, including rocket-propelled grenades and a so-far inexhaustible amount of ammunition. The aircraft flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck militant positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward. At least 21 civilians have been killed, including a boy who was hit by suspected militant gunfire inside a Marawi mosque where his family had taken refuge, Padilla said.

On that same day, fighters jets bombed Marawi City's conflict zone anew, specifically Barangay Bangolo, one of the three remaining villages under the control of the Maute Group.

The military has said it is aiming to end the siege by Monday, the Philippines' independence day. However, RT has received reports of that the fighters have been bolstering their ranks with local recruits and foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen, India, and Chechnya.

A military helicopter prepares to land as fighting continues in Marawi on Friday. Government numbers now put the extremists' losses at 158 killed and nine captured.

Reports suggest the Maute brothers, Abdullah Maute and Omarkhayam Maute, were also killed.