On Friday, Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson for Marawi Joint Task Force, announced that only 0.2 square kilometer of Marawi city is still under ISIS control.
“Our soldiers are still trying to clear a portion of about 20-21 hectares [0.2 square kilometer] land area in the main battle area,” Petinglay said.
So far 653 ISIS fighters have been killed in the Marawi battle by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), while the AFP has lost 145 soldiers.
In a related development, Australian Minister for Defense Marise Payne announced after a meeting Philippines Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana in Manila that Australia will send a small unit of Australian soldiers to train AFP soldiers.
“We are very committed to supporting the Philippines in its efforts to defend itself against terrorist threats,” Payne said.
The Australian soldiers will advise the AFP soldiers and train them, according to Payne’s statement. However, the Australian soldiers will not engage in any direct battle against ISIS in the Philippines.
The AFP has received a military support from the USA, Australian, Singapore and China so far. The support of this countries has improved the AFP surveillance capabilities mainly, while only few weapons have been supplied to the AFP.