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This is all that's left of the heart of the southern Philippine city of Marawi after a grueling urban battle. The army eventually defeated pro Islamic State militants. It lasted five months, but it looks like it was five years. The military lost a lot, but it learned a lot from this conflict.
There were so many new things that the armed forces that never faced. New tactics that they have to employ, they had to adapt their approach to meet the challenge of this enemy. The siege was clearly planned well in advanced. The leaders of the rebel alliance had been in Marawi City for quite some time.
The military was completely caught off guard, they didn't have the reinforcement, they were overwhelmed by insurgents. People fled, about 250,000 eventually. It was a tricky conflict for journalist to cover because it was unfamiliar territory for the military, there were air strikes going on. Their were helicopter gunships flying around.
The militants were a formidable force. This was a war that was conducted largely by snipers on both sides, making it extremely dangerous for us. The war in Marawi is over, but the concern is that is just the prelude of more to come. The Philippines was warned about this, but really didn't expect it to happen quite so soon.
The ease at which these militants and the foreign operatives were able to recruit, train youngsters, and teenagers, and university students to join this movement in such large numbers, must be worrying. If anything good is to have come from this, it's that governments of the region are aware this threat is real.
Martial law has been extended in Mindanao for another year by the Philippines. The armed forces are looking to crack down on the remnants of these movements, to go after new leaders who may emerge and make sure this doesn't happen again.