Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, a military spokesman, said on June, 15 (15.06.2017) that the army had retaken higher ground to the east of the city, reducing the enemy’s field of fire.
Three bridges over the Agus were also now under the army’s control, Herrera said.
Many of the militants are locals, from the Marawi region. Military officials say they have been joined by battle-hardened Islamic State fighters from as far away as Yemen and Morocco.
The ill-equipped Philippines military has mostly operated against rebels in mountainous territory or on remote islands and is unused to urban warfare.
Aiding the militants is Mindanao’s history of clan warfare – known in the local dialect as rido – and most buildings in Marawi have basements and are built with walls of thick concrete.
“The culture of this region is they have built their houses like fortresses,” said one of the frontline army commanders. “They want to protect their families. They know how to make guns. That’s also part of the rido culture.”