13 Daesh militants killed as Philippine Army starts major counter-offensive in Marawi




On Thursday, fierce clashes erupted in the Philippines city of Marawi, home to a large Sunni population, after the Philippine Army began its anticipated counter-offensive carried out by thousands of government troops, including its 103rd Brigade and special forces.

Amid the clashes, 13 Daesh rebels were killed as well as 7 Philippine soldiers killed-in-action as government forces re-controlled the Amai Pakpak Hospital and Dansalan College around noon, rescuing 120 hostages in the operation.

Moreover, a police officer was killed in the Marawi battle against two Daesh franchise groups, known as ‘Maute’ and ‘Abu Sayyaf’. A total of 31 government troops have been wounded over the past 72 hours, official sources affirmed.

Since Tuesday, Daesh has captured considerable portions of Maraawi city, set churches on flames and abducted priests from the local municipality. However, Colonel Edgard Arevalo insisted the situation was under control in spite of a martial law being announced across the governorate.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, known to be a strongman and controversial figure spared little mercy on the insurgents: “Anyone now holding a gun, facing the government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all,” he stated on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, hundreds of Daesh fighters and sleeper cells are still active inside Marawi and must be dealt with by the Philippine Army if they are to suppress the insurgency.