On October 13, Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “Joint Task Group Ranao” Colonel Romeo Brawner announced that ISIS fighters are now only controlling 80 buildings inside a 3 hectares area in Marawi city. Colonel Brawner revealed that only 40-50 ISIS fighters are still alive inside Marawi.
Colonel Brawner said that the AFP is seeking to recapture the city by October 15. However, the colonel stressed that the safety of the soldiers, and the civilian hostages inside the city are the main priority of the AFP.
“The military doesn’t want to call it a deadline because it brings undue pressure on the troops. What we have are targets and Oct. 15 is one of the targets. Again, we do not want to consider it a deadline… Lives are at stake here. The lives of the soldiers and the hostages may be unnecessarily placed in danger if we rush,” Colonel Brawner told reporters.
So far, the AFP has lost 160 of its soldiers, and killed 811 fighters of ISIS. At the beginning of the battle, the AFP estimated that there are about 500 ISIS fighters inside Marawi city. However, the real numbers appear to be double of the first estimation.
Although Marawi city battle started on May 23, more than week before the beginning of Raqqa city battle on June 6, the AFP is still unable to impose its full control over Marawi that’s 22 times smaller than Raqqa city.
However, only 48 civilians were killed during Marawi battle, while at least 700 civilians were killed during the Raqqa battle that’s almost over.
The main reason that slowed down the AFP advance inside Marawi city is that most of the AFP units are poorly armed. The AFP does not even operate any type of main battle tanks or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).
The AFP didn’t receive any serious military aid for its main ally, the US, unlike irregular forces like the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria. The SDF that receives loads of ammunitions and weapons and even modern armored vehicles from the US on a weekly basis. This clearly impacts its capabilities to fight ISIS in Raqqa city.