U.S. military officials said Friday said that U.S. special operations forces are backing the Filipino army against Islamist militants.
Request For Help
The American forces were stationed per the Philippines’ request to help defeat Abu Sayyaf, military officials added; ISIS last year pronounced the leader of Abu Sayyaf the “emir” of Southeast Asia, according to Reuters.
The U.S. and the Philippines unite against ISIS
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been battling to retrieve the southern city of Marawi from Islamist militants who seized it and kept it for the last three weeks.
Hundreds of militants who announced that they are affiliated with ISIS seized the city on May 23, waging a bloody war.
Separately, the Philippines military has said that they have lost 13 marines in the battles, according to The Associated Press.
No More Details
U.S. officials did not provide further details about the numbers of troops who are backing the Filipino army or the way they provide supplements.
The Philippines military informed Reuters that the U.S. was backing the Philippines troops as the U.S. sent technical assistance to put an end to the occupation of Marawi City, but had not sent officers or soldiers there.
U.S. was quick to support the Filipino army against the Islamist militants of ISIS as the two nations had tense relations although the two nations have been long-time allies and had strong ties.
According to Reuters, President Rodrigo Duterte, who rose to power last year, has taken a stand against the United States and vowed to sack U.S. military trainers from the Philippines,
In April this year, the relations between the U.S. and the Philippines has improved after President Donald Trump and Duterte discoursed about retrieving the strong ties the two nations once had when Trump invited Duterte to the White house.