Death Toll Rises as Philippines Tries to Recapture City of Marawi

Over 100 Killed in Fighting Since Tuesday

Heavy fighting continued throughout the weekend in and around the city of Marawi, in the southern Philippines, as after the declaration of martial law, the Duterte government has dispatched the military to try to recapture the city, which has been more or less completely overrun by ISIS.

The official military toll is that around 100 people have been killed so far, including 16 civilians. Others report at least 19 civilians killed, and eight more bodies discovered outside the city, apparently summarily executed by somebody or other.

Despite a large military force being dispatched to reclaim the city, the Islamist fighters within appear not to have prepared any escape, and are instead digging in, preparing to resist what could be a long and violent siege. Marawi was a city of about 200,000, though estimates are that most everyone has fled, and no more than a few thousand remain.

Officials say they remain confident that they’ll take the city soon, however, saying they believe the militants are low on ammunition and food. The 60-day martial law period declared, however, appears to have somewhat united other Islamist factions in the covered region, and may lead to yet more resistance to the military incursions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.