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ICC Note:

The fighting in the city of Marawi in the Philippines has persisted for over four weeks. This battle has covered four districts, only 10 percent of the city, but the surrounding cities are completely deserted. The Islamic State group, the Maute brothers have pushed over 200,000 people out of the city, forcing them to abandon their lives and all they know. This crisis proves frightening to everyone, but especially to Christians because the Maute group has actively sought out to kill Christians. The total death toll is uncertain, but it is estimated to be over hundreds.

06/20/2017 The Philippines (Channel News Asia) – There is very little sign of normal life now left on the abandoned streets of Marawi. The fighting is unrelenting and it has been for nearly one month.

The battle is centred on just four districts – about 10 per cent of the city. The rest of it lies abruptly deserted.

Homes and businesses are shuttered, food sits rotting and the only movement comes from patrolling soldiers and feeble animals. Even some of them are victims of this conflict; a small puppy lies dead in the middle of one road, flies buzzing around it.

Posters congratulating young graduates on their law and engineering degrees stand still in time, a wretched reminder of the lives that have taken abrupt turns. What fate has befallen these budding professionals remains uncertain in the fog of war.

Marawi has descended into despair. More than 200,000 residents managed to flee its bounds within days of the eruption of violence triggered by militants inspired by Islamic State.

Tales of black-clad gunmen going door to door assassinating Christians speak of the terrible atrocities that may long haunt this place. The death toll is officially in the hundreds, but there are underlying fears of a much grimmer reality waiting once the deadly struggle subsides.

The military has for weeks stood firm on a quick and efficient liberation. But urban warfare of this scale rarely gives easy victories and an unknown number of assailants have repelled all comers; they were prepared for this.

There are no more marks on the calendar for what was once thought of as an inevitable army breakthrough.

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