Monday, November 20, 2017

Philippines: No More "Islamic State" Control in Marawi

Article by Evan Centanni

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Map of so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) control in the Philippines, during the May-June 2017 crisis involving the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf takeover of Marawi Ciy, Lanao del Sur province, Mindanao. Updated to June 4, 2017, shows detailed control of Marawi by barangay. Includes map of area affected by martial law declared by President Rodrigo Duterte. Colorblind accessible.

Rebel Takeover in Southern Philippines

In early June, we published a detailed map and timeline of control in the Filipino city of Marawi, which had been partly captured by rebel fighters claiming to representing the so-called "Islamic State" (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL). In a matter of hours, hundreds of religious hardline fighters had launched a surprise takeover of the city, led by the recently-formed Maute rebel group and Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the radical Abu Sayyaf network and the IS's officially designated leader for the Philippines.

The Filipino military quickly moved in to expel the fighters from Marawi, but the battle would drag on for another 5 months before the city was restored to full government control. As part of the government response, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the entire southern Philippines. For more on the history of martial law in the Philippines, and rebellions in the country's south, see our article from June.

IS-affiliated Rebels Expelled from Marawi

The siege of Marawi City finally came to an end on October 23, exactly five months after it started, with the capture of the last rebel-held building by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Over a thousand people had been killed in the fighting, including 165 military and police personnel, over 900 rebel fighters, and dozens of civilians. The three leaders of the insurrection, Hapilon and the two Maute brothers, were among the dead.

Flag of the Philippines Country Name:  
• Philippines (English)
• Pilipinas (Filipino)
Official Name:  
• Republic of the Philippines (English)
• Republika ng Pilipinas (Filipino)
Capital: Manila
President Duterte's martial law declaration remained in effect, having been extended by the legislature until the end of 2017. As of November, it was not yet clear whether the declaration would be extended again. The military hopes to continue its momentum in batting down other hardline rebel groups in the southern Philippines, such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

However, the region's most prominent rebel force, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), reportedly fought alongside government troops against the IS-inspired fighters. The MILF and the Filipino government had already been partway through implementing a drawn-out peace deal at the time the violence erupted in Marawi.

For a timeline of events in Marawi since our June 4 report, see Wikipedia's well-sourced Battle of Marawi article (sources can be verified using the footnote citations for each timeline entry).

Want to know more? Read PolGeoNow's in-depth June 2017 article on the rebel takeover of Marawi!

Graphic of the flag of the Philippines is in the public domain (source).