Philippine marines killed in fighting with militants

US Forces Join Philippine Troops to End Siege of Marawi

At least 13 Marines were killed, and at least 40 were wounded in fierce clashes in Marawi on Friday night (June 10), in the single biggest setback for the Philippine military since the siege by hundreds of Muslim militants in the southern lakeside city more than two weeks ago.

The preparedness to resist the ISIS forces became a problem for government forces, which are still not able to effectively handle urban conflict.

The assistance comes after months of strain between the two long-time allies that was stoked by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's hostility towards Washington and his pledges to throw U.S. troops out of the country.

Thousands of Marawi's 200,000 inhabitants fled the city after Islamic State-linked militants executed civilians, while the nation battled a deadly casino attack last week labelled as a 'terrorist' act by a top Philippine lawmaker.

The conflict began after militants seized large parts of Marawi on May 23 following a botched raid on a suspected hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, the Philippines' most wanted terrorist.

The government earlier said the unrest had left 20 civilians, 134 militants and 39 government troops dead.

"The end game is to have them arrested, if we can", said Padilla.

However, the American spokesperson refused to give further details for security reasons.


The brothers' parents, who are believed to have helped fund their armed group, have been captured.

"We are still awaiting confirmation", he said.

In Marawi, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera confirmed the USA assistance, telling a news conference: "They are not fighting. They are just providing technical support", military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera told a news conference in Marawi City.

Reuters news agency earlier quoted the U.S. embassy in Manila as verifying the presence of United States forces.

The military on Saturday said that this is the biggest single-day loss for the government forces in a battle which has been ongoing for almost three weeks.

Mr Duterte, a strongman who has supported the extrajudicial killing of drug users and other criminals, has been highly critical of the USA since taking power last June, straining a long-time alliance.

The latest death toll in the ongoing fight for Marawi is 217, including 58 from the government side, 138 militants, and 21 civilians.

Col Herrera said the militants were now restricted to three districts within the city.

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