Militants kill 13 Philippine marines in wartorn Marawi city

Mother of Maute brothers arrested in Lanao del Sur

The U.S. Embassy in Manila said without elaborating that U.S. special operations forces were providing help to Filipino troops battling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants in Marawi. The statement confirmed that the United States military is also involved in assisting the government troops to quell the urban insurrection, according to the Associated Press reports.

Speaking at the end of her and Mr Turnbull's visit to Singapore, Defence Minister Marise Payne said the Marawi battle was a reminder of what "could prospectively come to pass" if the region was not careful.

"The local terrorist groups are using the mosque; they are entrenched there".

For the past 18 days, boys such as these and their adult commanders have occupied the centre of Marawi, a city of 221,000 people in the southern Philippines.

The latest casualties bring the number of Philippine troops killed in the fighting to 58.

They face intense daily assault by tanks, jet fighters and helicopter gunships; according to the government, 138 of them have died in the... A US P3 Orion surveillance plane was seen flying over the town on Friday, but there has been no evidence that the United States has put troops on the ground there.

Until now there had been no confirmation USA forces were assisting in the battle for Marawi City, now in its third week. "They are just providing technical support".


The little-known Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier threatened to throw out U.S. troops amid strained relations since taking office.

Washington deployed special forces soldiers to Mindanao in 2002 to train and advise Philippine units fighting ASG militants in a programme that once involved 1,200 Americans.

"The presence of our USA counterparts facilitates exchanges of intelligence ... and also provides training exchanges and, of course, the technical support that we are sharing together in the fight against global terrorism", he added.

The military on Saturday said that this is the biggest single-day loss for the government forces in a battle which has been ongoing for almost three weeks.

But he had what the White House described as a "very friendly" phone call with President Donald Trump in April, and has since said his differences with the USA were with President Barack Obama's administration.

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