US praises Manila on winning Marawi fight
MANILA - Agence France-Presse
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Oct. 25 praised the Philippine military for upholding human rights in a five-month battle against pro-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in a southern city.
Philippine defense chiefs on Oct. 23 declared the end of the nation’s longest urban war in Marawi, where troops have been battling to flush out militants who attacked the city in what authorities said was a bid to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate.
Mattis, who was in the Philippines to attend a regional security meeting, heaped praise on the military of America’s longtime ally and mutual defense partner.
“I think the most important thing is here’s an army that had to go in a fight like that, and they had not one human rights allegation against them with any credibility, not one,” Mattis told reporters.
“That’s really a statement about the Philippine military that they could set a human rights condition in the midst of that awful fight in the way they did,” he said on the sidelines of meetings in Clark, a northern Philippine city.
Meanwhile, Russia handed over army trucks and thousands of assault rifles toPresident Rodrigo Duterte yesterday as the two nations celebrated their growing military ties.
Duterte accepted the weaponry during a visit to a Russian naval ship docked in Manila, the latest move to embrace Russia and China.
Following a tour of the mammoth anti-submarine warship Admiral Panteleyev, Duterte personally handled some of the 5,000 donated Kalashnikov rifles along with ammunition and 20 trucks to the poorly-equipped Philippine military.