U.S. special forces helping Philippines troops to end city siege

Cheryl Sanders
June 11, 2017

"We routinely consult with our Filipino partners at senior levels to support the Duterte administration's counterterrorism efforts", according to the statement.

Herrera also said he could not comment on reports of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane reported to be flying within the combat zone on June 9.

It is the biggest loss for government forces in a single day, the military said. Reuters and CNN report that that the embassy didn't offer any details as to what kind of assistance the USA was now providing, but an official from the Philippine military has said that it only comprises "technical support", not boots on the ground.

The crisis in Marawi, combined with fears that the Islamic State group is breathing new life into Muslim insurgencies in Southeast Asia, has put the Philippines and the region on edge.

Arevalo said fighting resumed on Saturday as troops pushed their advance into three districts where more than 200 militants were still holed up since the hostilities began on May 23.

The total number of security force members killed in the Marawi battles has risen to 58. 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.

As the fighting intensified, the United States embassy in Manila said American forces were providing assistance to the Filipino troops, although it declined to give details for security reasons.

The wounded Marine troopers were transported from Marawi to a medical facility in Iligan City on board military trucks.

Washington deployed special forces soldiers to Mindanao in 2002 to train and advise Philippine units fighting the Abu Sayyaf group in an operation that once involved 1,200 Americans.

The heavy fighting occurred as police arrested the mother of two brothers leading the militants, who come from different local groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist movement.

"[The] "Bangon Marawi" is already with the Office of the Executive Secretary awaiting submission to the President", he said. "We are still validating those reports but there are strong indications". Military officials believe Hapilon is still in the town.

Manila previously announced plans to "liberate" the city by Monday, June 12 the Philippine Independence Day, but according to an evacuated Marawi City resident in direct contact with RT, the insurgents have received reinforcements in recent days and have further entrenched their positions.

Other reports by iNewsToday