On August 30, Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), announced that the AFP stepped up its bombing on the remaining ISIS-held area in Marawi city to open the way for the final push against terrorists.
“One of the lessons we learned is that we really have to support the advance of troops by pouring all the firepower in,” Gen. Bautista said.
Moreover, the AFP successfully captured the Mapandi bridge after weeks of clashes with ISIS fighters. The bridge was the last suppling route for ISIS in Marawi city.
ISIS now controls only a 500-square-meter pocket inside Marawi city surrounded by the AFP from all sides. So far 617 ISIS fighters have been killed in the Marawi battle, while the AFP has lost 133 soldiers.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the battle to liberate Marawi entered its final phase.
“We are in the final stages. So let us send immediately, even air-lift, the police to Marawi,” Duterte said according to the Singapore-based “The Straits Times” newspaper.
Islamic groups affiliated with ISIS – mainly Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups – took over Marawi city on May 23, exactly 100 ago.