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Washington may launch a military operation that would allow the US military to conduct airstrikes against ISIS (banned in Russia) positions in the Philippines, US media reported citing two defense officials.
Axar.az reports citing Sputnik that, according to the NBC broadcaster's Monday report, the plan to start the operation, which is currently being considered by the US Department of Defense, may be announced later in the day.
The broadcaster also noted that the airstrikes are likely to be carried out by drones.
In the event the plan is approved, US servicemen will be authorized to attack militants who threaten US allies in the region that fight ISIS threat on the ground. One such ally is the Philippine Armed Forces.
The broadcaster cited Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis as saying that Washington and Manila have been sharing intelligence for quite some time and that the Philippines has for 15 years been hosting US servicemen who support the state in its counterterrorism efforts.
In late July, the United States supplied the Philippines with two new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, 1,040 rocket motors and 992 rockets to fight against terror. In addition, Manila is expected to receive 250 rocket-propelled grenade launchers from Washington.
On May 25, Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao, which is often subjected to attacks by ISIS-linked terror groups. Marawi has remained the primary hotspot ever since the Maute group attempted to storm the city.
In June, the US embassy in the Philippines announced that American forces started providing assistance to the embattled Filipino troops in the southern regions of the archipelago.
Following the announcement, President Duterte said that he "never approached America" for military assistance and was "not aware of that until they arrived." Addressing the apparent insubordination of his own military, he remarked that "our soldiers are pro-American, that I cannot deny."
2017.08.08 / 16:18