United States Special Forces are now helping the Philippines military in the battle against ISIS militants.
At the request of the Philippines government, the U.S. soldiers have been deployed to assist in rooting out the terrorist organization who have seized the city of Marawi. The U.S. will not be putting troops on the ground to fight alongside the Filipino infantry however, but are limiting their role to technical support and the operation of surveillance aircraft. The somewhat restrained support follows tensions between the two countries after Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted to develop closer relations with China and Russia, instead of Western powers.
“I have nothing against America, [US President Donald] Trump is my friend,” Duterte said. “But my foreign policy has shifted. I want to deal with China and Russia. Because in Western world, it’s double talk.”
“You treat me as if I’m your colony still. You must be kidding! We’re an independent country. I want my country to be treated with dignity,” Duterte continued.
The Daily Caller reports:
Despite airstrikes, the Philippines military is finding it difficult to rout out the ISIS militants, as these fighters make use of anti-tank weapons and take shelter in bomb-proof tunnels. They also use human shields, a tactic commonly used by ISIS troops facing heavy assault in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon told CNN that special forces have operated in the Philippines for years, and at any time, there are 50-100 troops on the ground.
Although the U.S. is providing military support, the long-standing alliance between the U.S. and the Philippines has been on somewhat shaky ground as of late because of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s loud remarks about pivoting to China and Russia. In a recent interview with RT in May, Duterte stated he wanted a closer relationship with China and Russia, as the Western world engages in “double talk.”