Terrorism & Insurgency

JTIC Brief: Ongoing Marawi siege indicates growing presence and influence of the Islamic State in the Philippines

24 July 2017

Key Points

  • Islamic State-loyalist militants have held control of areas of the Philippine city of Marawi since 23 May, despite concerted ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.
  • The militants have displayed an above-expected level of tactical and operational sophistication in holding off the security forces, and have indicated no intention of surrender or withdrawal.
  • In addition to the Islamic State exploiting the incident for propaganda purposes, the episode has also compounded regional fears of the extent and depth of the group's presence in the region.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress on 18 July to extend martial law on the southern island of Mindanao until the end of the year in order to facilitate the military's ongoing campaign to end the occupation of the city of Marawi in Lanao del Sur province by two militant Islamist groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State - the so-called Maute Group, or Islamic State in Lanao, led by brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute, and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) led by Isnilon Hapilon (alias Abu Abdullah al-Filibini).

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