MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Philippine army has completed its military operation in Marawi, liberating the city from the 30 remaining militants of the Daesh-linked Maute group (outlawed in Russia) and rescuing all hostages, the country’s defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said on Monday.
"After 154 days of the siege of Marawi by the Daesh-inspired Maute-ISIS group, or a week since the commander-in-chief declared the liberation of Marawi, we now announce the termination of all combat operations in Marawi," Lorenzana said at the ASEAN meeting of defense ministers, as quoted by the CNN Philippines broadcaster.
The standoff between government forces and terrorists escalated in May, when the Islamists from the Maute group attacked Marawi, located on the island of Mindanao, forcing the government to start a military operation in the region. The conflict led to numerous victims, the evacuation of civilians from the city, and the declaration of martial law on Mindanao by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. He declared the liberation of Marawi on October 17.
During the conflict, the Maute group managed to gain control of a municipal jail and unshackle its prisoners, they had leveled to the ground a hospital and seized at least three bridges. The Islamists were reportedly hunting Christians to use them as human shields.