SYDNEY – Australia yesterday offered to help train Philippine troops to tackle Islamic militants terrorizing parts of the country as it calls the threat “deeply concerning.”
Philippine forces have been fighting militants in Marawi City for almost 100 days. But the gunmen, flying the Islamic State (IS) group’s black flag, have defied military assaults, including airstrikes and artillery barrages.
Australia, which has an extensive defense cooperation program with Manila, has already deployed two high-tech AP-3C Orion aircraft for surveillance and is keen on providing more help.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she recently spoke to President Duterte, who wanted to bolster resources for his armed forces.
“We would be ready to support the Philippines in the same way we are supporting Iraq in advising, assisting and training,” she said.
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