first published on December 11, 2019 by Will
After the five-month-long battle for the city of Marawi was won, the Philippines Special Operations Command released an awesome wrap-up video giving an analysis of the fight while displaying incredible visual footage of the longest urban battle in the Philippines’ modern history.
The video gives a little background on how the Islamic State was able to grab a foothold in the island nation. The Philippines has had its share of problems with Muslim insurgencies since the 1970’s, but only recently had those insurgents been the focal point of well-funded, international jihadist groups.
Malaysia and Indonesia, also infested with radical Islamists, had rebel groups that pledged loyalty to the Islamic State, and through them, were able to funnel weapons, equipment, and foreign fighters into Malawi, the island Marawi sits upon.
ISIS coordinated with two local Islamist militant groups “Maute” and “Abu Sayf,” and from there, launched an assault to capture the city of Marawi. Armed Forces of the Philippines’ intelligence operatives had caught early wind of this brewing rebellion and sent a small unit raid in to capture terrorist leaders for questioning. They had no idea that they were walking into a well-armed, well-entrenched hive of several hundred Muslim fighters.
The government raid triggered the Islamic State assault to capture the city. The Maute group burned down buildings, destroyed churches, and took Christians hostage. Lines of communication were destroyed and the roads leading in and out of the city were blocked and guarded by snipers.
Over the course of the past several decades, Filipino troops received constant advanced training from US Green Berets. Unlike the US “allies” in the other parts of the world, Filipino troops can actually be taught, and make excellent soldiers. Their leadership, planning, and execution of tactics is on par with the best militaries in the world.
For months, the Armed Forces of the Philippines bravely fought street-to-street, house-to-house, and room-to-room in intense close quarters battles. They improvised RPG armor out of wood on their vehicles and called in airstrikes when necessary and eventually dislodged the Islamists from their prepared fighting positions, killing nearly 1,000 insurgents, at a cost of 165 of their own killed.