Quantcast
Connect with us

US troops on the ground in war-ravaged Philippine city: military

Published

on

In the Philippines, hundreds of civilians are trapped by fighting between the military and Islamist militants who have overrun the city of Marawi on the restive southern island of Mindanao (AFP Photo/RODY)

US troops are on the ground helping local soldiers battle Islamist militants in a Philippine city, a Filipino military spokesman said Wednesday, giving the most detailed account of their role.

The small number of US soldiers are providing vital surveillance assistance and, although they do not have a combat role, are allowed to open fire on the militants if attacked first, spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In a battle the most important item for the commander is to be able to determine what is happening,” Padilla said as he confirmed that men in civilian clothes caught by a television camera flying drones from a pickup truck were US troops.

“It’s called situational awareness and that is the sort of assistance being given.”

The Philippine military has for over three weeks been engaged in fierce battles with hundreds of militants, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, in the southern city of Marawi on Mindanao island.

The fighting has left 202 gunmen dead, while 58 soldiers and 26 civilians have also been killed, according to the government.

The militants have withstood a relentless bombing campaign that has made parts of Marawi, the most important Islamic city in the mainly Catholic Philippines, resemble war-devastated cities in Iraq and Syria.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Philippines and the United States are longtime allies and are bound by a mutual defence treaty.

American troops have since 2002 rotated on short-term deployments in the southern Philippines to provide intelligence and counter-terrorism training to Filipino troops.

There used to be about 600 American troops in the south at any one time but the operations were scaled down in 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT

The issue of US troops in the Philippines has become extremely sensitive since Rodrigo Duterte became president last year and sought to downgrade his nation’s military alliance with the United States in favour of China.

Duterte has repeatedly called for American troops to leave the Philippines.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last weekend Duterte said he was not aware that US soldiers were helping in Marawi, while making a frank admission that his military favoured close ties with the United States.

“Our soldiers are pro-American, that I cannot deny,” Duterte said.

Aside from the television footage of the American drone operators, cameramen in Marawi have regularly filmed a US spy plane over the city.

ADVERTISEMENT

The US embassy announced at the weekend that special operations forces were providing assistance in Marawi, but gave no details.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

We’ll be learning bad stuff about Trump for years

Published

on

The media may not have to quit their addiction to President Donald Trump anytime soon.

The nature of presidential record-keeping, and Trump's habit of ripping up documents and making enemies of his staffers, should ensure a steady flow of shocking news about the Trump administration long after he finally leaves the White House, wrote journalist Timothy Noah for The Atlantic.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump baffled by vaccine hold-up because he has the ’emotional make-up of a small child’: CNN

Published

on

Reporting on a planned White House task force meeting on Tuesday where FDA head Steven Hahn is expected to provide an update on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, CNN's John Harwood said officials in the government are having to fend off a pestering Donald Trump.

According to CNN's Jim Sciutto, Trump is "upset" that the vaccine hasn't been released to the public yet because he doesn't understand the complexity of the massive public health project and why the FDA hasn't approved the vaccine's release.

"This is not the first time we've been concerned about the president interfering, perhaps with an eye towards politics, to the scientific questions about vaccine approval. What do we know?" Sciutto asked.

Continue Reading
 

Activism

C-SPAN caller claims vaccine companies are trying to implant him with ‘tracking device’

Published

on

A C-SPAN caller from North Carolina claimed on Tuesday that pharmaceutical companies are plotting to include a tracking device in COVID-19 vaccines.

"I'm 71 years old, basically in pretty good health," a caller named Mark told C-SPAN's Washington Journal. "I don't really have any problem taking the vaccine except that I'm hearing of the possibility of them including a barcoded tracking device that will be a part of the vaccination and they say the reason for that, if it's true, would be to better get effective results with respect to the virus and the vaccination."

"Where are you reading this report?" the C-SPAN host interrupted.

Continue Reading