DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:40 P.M.) – Heavy clashes continue to embroil the city of Marawi, located on the southern island of Mindanao, while civilians bear the brunt of the ongoing crisis.
According to Amaq Agency, 13 government soldiers were killed during skirmishes in Marawi’s neighborhoods on Tuesday while an additional 5 were burned alive as an Islamic State RPG destroyed an armored vehicle, bringing the total alleged Philippine Army death toll to 18 for the day.
On the other hand, the Philippine Armed Forces said they had restored 90% of the city under government control due to ongoing counter-insurgency operations that have the ISIS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups running low on manpower.
Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera added that government forces were still on the offensive, but advances were hampered due to ISIS snipers.
When the jihadist insurgency began last month, ISIS boasted a fighting force of some 500 militants. Now, their numbers have dwindled to just 150 according to army sources while most Maute family members have been apprehended or killed.
Effectively, the battle for Marawi is expected to come to a conclusion within the next few weeks.