US Troops Join Fight Against Daesh Affiliates in Philippines

"We salute these enormous display of heroism and raw courage of these fallen Marines in the course of the fight to clear Marawi of the remaining members of the Maute-ISIS group", he said.

Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, the military spokesman, said last Friday that the Philippine flag would be flying all over Marawi by tomorrow, the Philippine independence day.

An estimated 500 to 1,000 civilians are trapped in Marawi.

The forces have been deployed at the request of the government, the embassy said.

"They are not fighting".

The seizure of Marawi City on May 23 has alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear that Islamic State - facing setbacks in Syria and Iraq - is establishing a stronghold on the Philippine island of Mindanao that could threaten the whole region.

At least 20 civilians and about 138 militants have also been killed, the government said.

But with USA military assistance under way in Marawi, the harsh rhetoric has stopped. "It does not involve any boots on the ground, nor is there any direct participation in combat operations, a matter prohibited by law", Mr. Abella also said, adding that "The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries if they offer it".

"The Maute-ISIS group won't succeed, but we need the support of all sectors of society", Ano said.

USA special forces have joined the battle in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, after 13 Philippine marines were killed in intense urban fighting, the Philippine military said yesterday.

News of the technical assistance from the United States comes at a time when the local forces suffered its biggest one-day loss on Friday, when 13 marines were killed.

U.S. Special Forces have joined the Philippine army in attempting to retake Marawi City from fighters loyal to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

The Philippines military said in a statement on Saturday that U.S. forces are not fighting, but providing technical assistance to end the siege of Marawi City, which is now in its third week.

"Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr explained the situation: "[The US] contribution is more on training and technical assistance. Forty other marines were wounded, he said.

U.S. military involvement on the island of Mindanao, 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of Manila, would mark a turn in strains exemplified by President Rodrigo Duterte's past pledges to expel United States troops after decades of cooperation.

The government declared martial law on May 24, and the jihadists have reportedly "stockpiled weapons and food in mosques, tunnels and basements to prepare for a long siege, ' per Reuters".

Herrera added that the military is investigating reports that the founders of the Maute group have been killed in the fighting.

"We hit the logistical hubs, several command and control and communications and snipers' nest of Maute", Herrera said. The U.S. will "continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counterterrorism issues".

ISIS previous year declared the leader of Abu Sayyaf the "emir" of Southeast Asia, according to Reuters.

  • Leroy Wright