US special forces helping Philippines troops to end city siege

Jay Jacobs
June 10, 2017

US special forces have joined the battle to crush Islamist militants holed up in a southern Philippines town, officials said on Saturday, as government forces struggled to make headway and 13 marines were killed in intense urban fighting.

The marines were conducting a house-to-house search for militants allied with Islamic State (IS) who are still occupying parts of Marawi when the battle erupted on Friday, said Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera.

"This temporary setback has not diminished our resolve a bit, " said military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo.

Forty other marines were wounded, he said.

In more than two weeks of fighting, at least 202 people have been killed: 134 militants, 38 troops, and 30 civilians.

ASG stands for the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

Tens of thousands have fled Marawi, which is the Catholic country's most important Muslim city, as the fighting ripped through residential neighbourhoods, with more than 200,000 displaced people now living in precarious conditions and vulnerable to deadly health risks, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday. "American forces have always been present - although they are there primarily for technical and intelligence support".

They face intense daily assault by tanks, jet fighters and helicopter gunships; according to the government, 138 of them have died in the...

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It would not go into operational details but said the U.S. forces were helping at the request of the Philippine government.

Battle for the city of Marawi now in its third week as thousands flee.

"We are saddened with the result. we have fatalities on the government side".

Until now there had been no confirmation that U.S. forces were assisting in the battle for Marawi City, which is in its third week.

The little-known Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength.

"As we have in the past, we routinely consult with our Filipino partners at senior levels to support the Duterte administration's counterterrorism efforts", the embassy said, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Over 20 civilians have been confirmed killed due to the fighting, according to the government, but the true number is likely to be higher with authorities yet to fully assess the roughly 10 percent of Marawi still being held by the militants.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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