Philippines believes battle to retake Marawi is ending hinh anh 1Philippine soldiers in a battle to recapture Marawi city (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - After almost four months of fierce fighting, the battle to recapture the Philippines’s southern city of Marawi from pro-Islamic State (IS) fighters is drawing to an end, Philippine authorities have said.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a press conference on September 18 that he believes the 118-day conflict will end soon.

The country’s army just needs to liberate an area of about 10 hectares which are still under the control of the militants, he added.

Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Eduardo Ano said three of the five jihadist leaders of the militants that attacked Marawi in May have already been killed.

The military said there are an estimated 60 to 80 IS fighters left after nearly 700 of them have been killed in the ongoing conflict.

At least 10 Malaysian and Indonesian fighters are helping the local Maute terrorist group, Ano said.

A day earlier, the Philippine army said they controlled the command center of IS-linked militants in the city of Marawi, affirming that this was a big success to further weaken the terrorist group.

The number of victims as a result of the conflict has already exceeded 800 people. More than 500,000 local residents have been evacuated.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte announced the extension of martial law in Mindanao province so that law enforcement forces can wipe all terrorists out of the country’s southern region.-VNA