The battle in the Philippines has come to a halt as Philippine negotiator, Silverstre Bello III is hoping for a ceasefire and peace agreement with the New People’s Army, a communist insurgent group. The fighting between the Maute group and the government troops has been going on since May 23rd with the death toll at 242 militants, 56 government soldiers, and 26 civilians. The Maute Group is an Islamic State militant group that targets Christians.
06/19/2017 The Philippines (The Daily Caller) – The Philippines is halting its battle against communist insurgents to focus on obliterating the Islamic State, which has laid siege to the southern city of Marawi.
Philippine negotiator Silvestre Bello III said Sunday in a statement that the government is hoping for a ceasefire and peace agreement with the New People’s Army, a communist insurgent group, the Associated Press reports.
“The Philippine government hereby correspondingly reciprocates with the same declaration of not undertaking offensive operations against the New People’s Army,” Bello said.
Since May 23, government troops have been fighting ISIS-aligned militants in Marawi, which has a mostly Muslim population of 200,000 and is situated on the island of Mindanao.
Shortly after the fighting broke out at the beginning of Ramadan, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the island, but the battle is still raging. So far, 242 militants, 56 government soldiers and police and 26 civilians have been killed. The city itself has also been pounded by airstrikes.
U.S. special forces have stepped in to assist the military but at this point only in the context of technical support. American troops are providing a spy plane and drones to determine positions of ISIS fighters, who have aggressively targeted Christians.