On Saturday, ISIS claimed that 18 Philippines soldiers were killed on Friday in an ambush in the Bilot district in Marawi city.
Last wee, ISIS fighters started actively using IEDs to attack Philippines soldiers in the city, which may mean that ISIS fighters in Marawi are being assisted some expert ISIS fighters.
According to Philippine military sources, ISIS still controls an area of around 1 square km in Marawi. The area includes two villages.
The Philippine Army has revealed that 114 soldiers were killed in the clashes and that Philippines soldiers managed to kill 471 ISIS fighters so far.
Spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that “soldiers are in high spirits despite the growing number of casualties.”
“Our troops are in a very high state of morale, all leaning forward to finish this operation at the soonest time possible,” he added.
On Saturday, the United States announced in an official statement that it began providing military assistance to the Philippine army, including ammunition and military equipment. The assistance includes over 1,040 2.75 inches rocket motors and 992 rockets that have been delivered to the Philippine Air Force (PAF). The United States confirmed in the statement that the aid is aimed at fighting terrorism.
“The munitions and weapons deliveries will enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism capabilities, and directly support AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, including Marawi.”
Marawi’s battle is expected to end next month after most ISIS fighters inside the city were killed during the clashes over the last two months.