will give urban warfare and counter-terrorism training to the Philippines within days to help in the fight against Islamic State-pledged terror groups in the country, Defence Minister Marise Payne has announced.
Up to 80 n soldiers will work on Philippines bases to provide the expert training they have learnt from many years fighting Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, Senator Payne announced in Manila alongside her Philippines counterpart Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday morning. They will be regular Army rather than special forces soldiers.
“The [n Defence Force] will provide mobile training teams that will begin providing urban warfare, counter-terrorism training in the Philippines in the coming days,” Senator Payne said. “It is very practical training by the ADF, which will support the Philippines Defence Force to be able to counter what are very brutal tactics that are employed by terrorists.”
will also help provide more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, increase information-sharing, and carry out more maritime patrols, Senator Payne said.
Remnants of an apartment block in Barangay Basak where the Marawi conflict began. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
The Philippines announced in recent days that it had after five months of fighting finally cleared the southern city of Marawi of Islamic State-affiliated fighters. Despite the grinding victory by government forces, however, fears remain that the Islamic State may gain a foothold in the country’s south and use it as the base of a new so-called caliphate in the region.
Senator Payne’s announcement signals that sees a longer-term problem beyond just the recent siege of Marawi.
With the terrorist group losing territory in Iraq and Syria – culminating in its loss in recent days of its defacto capital of al-Raqqa in Syria – there are fears that fighters who have fled that battlefield will migrate to south-east Asia.
and the Philippines will also co-host a seminar involving military and civilian agencies about reconstruction after conflicts and as well as assist the Philippines combat Islamic State propaganda online.
The n Army will provide training to the Philippines Army and Marine Corps.
“It will include a range of skills related to combat in urban environments,” Senator Payne said. “It will involve information-sharing and experience-sharing to ensure that we are best able to use the skills that we have to hand.
“Through our significant involvement in the last couple of years in the counter-Daesh campaign in Iraq and Syria, has acquired skills and knowledge that we are able to share with the Philippines armed forces.”
She said the Royal n Navy would carry out more ship visits including a patrol boat visit in the next month.
Islamist militants have long operated in the southern Philippines but in recent years they have been bolstered by declaring allegiance to Islamic State.
has already been helping the Philippines by flying surveillance missions that gather intelligence around Marawi but also patrol the critical seaways that militants use to supply fighters in the southern Philippines from neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia.