DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:00 P.M.) – Amaq Agency published its fourth video from Marawi on Thursday, exactly two months after the ISIS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups launched a large-scale insurgency to the surprise of many analysts. This battle represent the first attempt at a land-grab by the Islamic State in Southeast Asia and has consequently been heavily contested by the Philippine Army which enjoys the backing of both the US and Russia.
The footage showed armed jihadist insurgents – many of whom originate from neighboring countries – opening fire on positions held by the Philippine Army in downtown Marawi:
Although the footage hints to the contrary, Lieutenant General Jo-Ar Herrera insists ISIS’ fighting force in the city has dwindled to just 80 militants, most of whom have established last-ditch sniper nests. The remaining insurgents are bogged down in some 500 buildings stretching across four neighborhoods of central Marawi, the military source added.
An estimated 420 insurgents have been killed or captured over the past 60 days including many influential members of the Maute family’s inner circle. If this official estimation is accurate, the Philippine Army outnumbers the Islamic State at least 50-to-1.
Since day one of the battle for Lanao’s predominately Muslim provincial capital, high-ranking Philippine commanders have notably downplayed the situation as a minor conflict, establishing several deadlines for the city’s full liberation which have since long passed.