Philippines battles militants amid blood bath
Philippine forces found corpses in the streets of a besieged southern city on Sunday, including at least eight civilians who appeared to have been executed, as soldiers battled a weakened but still forceful group of militants linked to Daesh. The death toll from six days of fighting neared 100.
The crisis in Marawi has grown increasingly dire as the militants show unexpected strength, fending off a military that has unleashed attack helicopters, armoured vehicles and scores of soldiers.
The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a Muslim separatist rebellion has raged for decades. But the recent bloodshed in Marawi has raised fears that extremism is growing as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with Daesh.
Much of the city is a nogo zone, but as the military advances and more civilians escape, the scope of the battle is becoming clear.
Thousands of civilians have streamed out of Marawi and more than 2,000 were still trapped inside the city. .
“Have mercy on us, we don’t have any more water to drink,” read one of the messages, sent to a hotline set up for trapped residents.
Philippine forces on their way to an assault in Marawi on Sunday.