By Christina Mendez and Michael Punongbayan
MANILA, Philippines - The military operations in Marawi City have started to wind down, President Duterte declared after visiting the frontlines last Friday.
Duterte said the battle in Marawi has entered its critical stage, citing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla, who said the troops have started to clear out the booby traps and explosive devices left by the terrorists in the city.
Padilla said only a few dozen gunmen of the extremist Maute group remain in two barangays covering an area of less than one square kilometer in the war-torn city.
He said the fighting between government troops and the terrorists are now at closer range.
Padilla added the troops are being more careful in their approach now that the battle is nearing its conclusion.
Padilla revealed there are only about 40 to 60 extremists left fighting the troops, based on the assessment of the ground commanders leading the government forces.
“They are still putting up a fight but not as intense as before,” Padilla said.
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