Philippine soldiers built houses for internally displaced families in Marawi on October 2. (Photo: EPA-EFE)

Manila (VNA) – The Philippine army announced on October 15 that its military operation to retake the southern city of Marawi from Maute militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS) will end soon.

Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the task force battling the gunmen, said FA-50 fighter jets flew over Marawi on October 15 as soldiers fought the militants.

Brawner, who is also a spokesman of the Philippine army, expressed his hope that siege will end soon.

Since May 23, when the pro-IS Maute group occupied parts of Marawi, up to 822 militants, 162 government soldiers and 47 civilians have been killed, Brawner said.

Last week, the army set a target to end the fighting on October 15, while President Rodrigo Duterte said the battle was "almost over" on October 13.

President Duterte previously extended the martial law for southern Mindanao province, of which Marawi is a part, to the end of this year to facilitate the army’s activities against militants.-VNA