Manila Scores a Victory Against ISIS but More Battles Loom

By Rohan Gunaratna

Rohan Gunaratna is a professor and Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is lead author of "Handbook of Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific" (Imperial College Press, London, 2016).

Philippine security forces, with timely international military and intelligence assistance, successfully contained, isolated, and eliminated the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi. Nearly 700 Filipino and foreign fighters that embraced ISIS ideology and practice have been killed by government and coalition forces in four months of intense combat. Initially, ISIS fighters in Marawi compared themselves to the impenetrable force that held Mosul, Iraq. But after 130 days of combat, less than 70 ISIS fighters now dominate a battle space of less than ten hectares. The troop’s advance has been slow as the urban area is heavily mined with snipers. ISIS also holds three dozen hostages, some of who have become fighters or supporters under duress.

ISIS in Marawi practices ISIS codes drawn from Iraq and Syria; it burnt down the city’s police station and jail and freed the inmates. It also executed officials, including the chief of intelligence of Marawi.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.


Categorized as:InternationalTagged with:

Related Articles

How Safe Would We Be Without Section 702?

SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — A provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that has generated controversy around fears of the potential for abuse has proven to be crucial […] More