Don't give ISIS foothold—Australian PM
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday reaffirmed his country's vow to help the Philippines defeat terrorism, saying groups like ISIS should not be allowed to get a foothold in the region.
"We cannot afford to let them have a foothold anywhere else, let alone in our region... We are in the same fight and that is why now more than ever the Australian Defense Force, the Armed Forces of the Philippines are working together supporting each other, learning from each other, fighting the fight, we cannot afford to lose," Turnbull told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.
Turnbull, who is in Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings, visited the military headquarters to witness a demonstration by the ADF and AFP on training in urban warfare and countering improvised bombs.
He also met with defense officials, including AFP chief Gen . Re y Leonardo Guerrero.
The premier congratulated President Rodrigo Duterte and the AFP for ending the ISIS-backed siege of Marawi City in five months, as compared to the longer time it took for allied forces to defeat members of the terrorist group in the Middle East.
"You were able to bring that insurgency to an end quickly... when [ISIS] was able to boat route through Syria, taking Raqha, taking Mosul, huge cities in Iraq, they developed the reputation, they were able to present an image of invincibility which was enormously helpful to them in terms of propaganda and recruiting. It has been, in the Middle East, a very long hot battle to roll them back," Turnbull said.
Turnbull noted that the fight in the Middle East is connected to Marawi, since some of the militants who fought in the city came or gained experience in that region.
"Many of the fighters for the Islamic State that propelled in Marawi were from all over the world, they come from Indonesia or Malaysia, some of them were Arabs from the Middle East."
"We cannot afford to let them have a foothold anywhere else, let alone in our region. Everything is connected, Syria, Iraq , the Philippines, Indonesia, the straits of Australia, we are all connected instantly," Turnbull said.
Guerrero said the meeting with Turnbull focused on strengthening military-to-military cooperation between Australia and the Philippines, as well as among other countries in Southeast Asia.
"We have agreed to push through with our activities and e ve n strengthen our future activities, particularly 'yung feed of intelligence and 'yung sa securing ng borders natin," he said. — John Roson