Philippine troops in operations against militant groups in Marawi (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – US special forces are assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the fight against militant groups in Marawi city in southern Mindanao islands, said the spokesperson of the US embassy in the Philippines on June 10. 

Previously, on June 5, the US government handed over to the Philippines hundreds of machine guns, pistols and grenade launchers to help the country combat Islamic gunmen who were battling troops in Marawi city. 

The weapons will enhance the Philippine Marine’s counter-terrorism capabilities, and help protect troops engaged in counter-terrorism operations in the southern Philippines, said the US Embassy. 

Clashes between Philippine troops and the militant groups have continued for three weeks, leaving at least 178 people dead. 

In response to violence, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao island to stop the escalating threat from the Islamic State group there.

The Philippines and the US signed a mutual defence treaty to protect each other if attacked in 1951. Currently, the US is the Philippines’ biggest supplier of military arms. -VNA