|Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Soldiers|
By Gerry Lee Gorit
Año said although the troops have the upper hand, it is proving difficult for them to engage in urban warfare as the militants have taken tactical positions in almost every house in the city.
“We are in total control of the whole area but it’s not cleared due to the urban terrain,” Año told reporters on the sidelines of President Duterte’s visit to the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Battalion headquarters late Friday.
Año, however, vowed to crush the militants and end the siege.
“We will make this their cemetery,” he said. “We have to finish this.”
Troops often encounter sniper fire as they advance slowly to clear the city of rebels.
“We have to clear one step at a time, house to house, block by block,” Año said.
Año pointed out the troops are used to fighting in the jungle but not in close combat encounters with gunmen in an urban setting.
“Here (Marawi) all it takes is for an armed person to position himself inside a building (as a sniper)… it would take time before it could be cleared,” he said.
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