Philippines says militants control 20 percent of besieged city

Fighting in the city has left a total of 58 soldiers and police and more than 20 civilians dead, the military said, estimating that nearly 200 militants have been killed.

"On the contrary, out of 96 barangays (neighborhoods), they are holding portions in Marinaut, Lulut, Mapandi and Bongolo Commercial District, which only comprise 20 percent of the whole Marawi City. and its getting smaller everyday", Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, head of military command in the region, told Reuters.

The Palace confirmed on Tuesday that it knew of the Maute group's plan to take over Marawi City prior to the attack on May 23. It is largely abandoned now, with about 250,000 people having fled the city and nearby areas.

There were conflicting reports over the weekend from Duterte and the US Embassy in Manila over whether US support had been requested in the Marawi fight.

One of them, officer Lumna Lidasan, said: "We could have escaped and disguised ourselves because we are Muslims".

"[Our] troops continue to gain important footholds [into] the inner areas of terrorist held areas", Abella said.

On Sunday the region's military chief, Lieutenant-General Carlito Galvez, told a news conference the fight would be "most hard, deadly, bloody, and it will take days and months to clear up".

A presidential spokesman said Saturday it would take at least two more weeks to clear the embattled city. Peace advocates and human rights activists used the holiday attend marches to condemn the government's policies on issues like the martial law and U.S. military intervention in Mindanao. But most of the marauders, who took civilians as human shields and torched the town cathedral, were from four local groups allied to Islamic State, and in the lead were the Maute, military officials said. "The fighting has so far claimed the lives of 58 government troops and over 100 civilians", reported CNN.

The conflict in the city of Marawi has raised fears that the ISIS group's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines. "The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries if they offer it". That said, bogus fake news from burned out leftists have stated that the Central Intelligence Agency is somehow behind the Marawi siege which of course is a laughable claim that we don't have enough Reynolds Wrap to address here. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on June 3 said up to 250 more militants were in the city, and were backed by fighters from Southeast Asia and Middle East. He declared martial law across Mindanao the day the fighting erupted.

"So there is no reason whatsoever why we couldn't see an attack in Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta with assault rifles from Minandano".

Witnesses said the bandits ran after them and fired shots resulting to the killing of the five civilians.

Citing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Calida said that propaganda materials obtained from ISIS indicate that local groups had already pledged their allegiance to the caliphate as early as November 2014.

A recent string of violent episodes in Southeast Asian countries sheds some light on the challenges facing this region as it grapples with extremism.

On Monday China said it supported the Philippines' "anti-terrorism" operations after the U.S. embassy confirmed it that USA special forces were assisting in the operations.

Abella was also asked why top security officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. joined Duterte in a trip to Russian Federation around the time the government received information about the planned Marawi attack.

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