Philippine troops in a campaign against militants (Photo: AFP/VNA)


Hanoi (VNA)
- Philippine aircraft and troops launched a renewed push against Islamist militants in southern Marawi city on June 20.

Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, a military spokesman of the Philippines said the military gained ground and is expanding its vantage positions in the city.

Early the day, local security force enhanced attack with automatic guns, armoured vehicles and artillery, pushing insurgents in commercial districts on the southern fringe of the city.

A news sources said the military arranged security forces in houses and buildings retaken from the rebel force to avoid the risk of recapture.

Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, another military spokesman of the country said the military aimed to prevent the conflict from escalating after Ramadan ends.

The offensive came amid worry that rebel reinforcements could arrive in the city after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The army is also closely watching certain groups and hopes they will not join the fight, Padilla said.

Army and police commanders of the Philippines met in nearby Cagayan de Oro city to reassess strategy and operations against the militants, who claim allegiance to Islamic State.

As of June 19, the military said 258 militants, 65 security personnel and 26 civilians had been killed. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for, with many believed to be hiding in the basements of the city. - VNA