GREATER urban combat training will be provided to all Filipino troops in light of fighting with Islamic militants in Marawi City in the southern Mindanao.
The Philippines Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said on Thursday that all the country’s security forces needed to be more capable of neutralising terrorists in cities and highly populated areas, reported the state Philippine News Agency.
The conflict in Marawi entered its hundredth day on Wednesday, as Philippines security forces have struggled to defeat the Islamic State-affilitated Maute Group.
Most Filipino troops are currently only trained for jungle warfare, said Brawner. Conflict in Marawi has spurred fears of the spread of Islamic State to Southeast Asia, as the so-called IS caliphate in Syria and Iraq grows smaller.
On Tuesday it was announced that Australia had offered to send special forces troops to assist and train the Philippines military in its fight against IS.
“The [Philippines] armed forces are in the process of engaging in a pretty brutal fight with IS,” said Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.
“We’ve offered to assist in any way that might add to the likelihood of defeating this scourge in the southern Philippines — it’s in our region.”
Fighting in Marawi broke out in late May after the army tried to arrest the leader of notorious terror group Abu Sayyaf, Isnilon.
On Monday, the military claimed the fighting with the Maute Group has been contained “in about 400m to 600m” amid the ongoing clearing operations in the besieged city.