The Battle of Marawi was the biggest urban battle in the Philippines’ modern history. It was also known as Siege of Marawi and Marawi Crisis. The battle started on May 23, 2017 and lasted until October 23, 2017. After the five-month-long battle for the city of Marawi was won, the Philippines Special Operations Command released an awesome video compilation giving an analysis of the battle while displaying incredible visual footage captured during the siege.
The video gives a little background on how the so-called Islamic State was able to grab a foothold in the Philippines. The country itself has had its share of problems with Muslim insurgencies since the 1970s, 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.
Battle of Marawi
Two local Islamist militant groups “Maute” and “Abu Sayyaf” sponsored by ISIS, 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 insurgents.
The government raid triggered the Islamic State assault to capture the city. The Maute group burned down buildings, destroyed churches, and took Christians as hostages. 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, the Philippines’ special forces were constantly trained and supported by US Green Berets. Unlike the US “allies” in the other parts of the world, the Philippines military can actually be taught, and make excellent soldiers. Their leadership, planning, and execution of tactics are 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, according to the Amnesty International.