By: Agence France-Presse
The United States is weighing further assist to the Philippine army because it fights an Islamist insurgency within the south, a US protection official stated Tuesday.
Discussions are “pretty advanced” and would see the US present elevated surveillance drone capabilities and coaching for native forces, the official advised AFP on situation on anonymity.
The drones might hypothetically be used to conduct strikes, the official added, though that may solely be for self-defense causes to guard US or companion forces, and wouldn’t sign one other entrance in America’s drone wars.
“It’s not necessarily what those (drones) are there for. Those are there for ISR and support,” the official stated, utilizing an abbreviation for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
The Philippines’ Department of National Defense stated there had been no discussions concerning using US drones to strike IS-inspired “terrorist groups.”
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan stated all army help within the Philippines is carried out on the request of the federal government.
“We respect the sovereignty of the Philippines, and we are not pursuing unilateral action in the Philippines,” he stated.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has requested lawmakers to approve the recruiting of 20,000 extra troopers to deal with elevated safety threats following a bloody city siege within the south.
Almost 700 folks have been killed, in keeping with the official rely, in over two months of preventing within the southern metropolis of Marawi in opposition to Islamist militants who’ve pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The militants, waving the black IS flag, have occupied components of Marawi since May 23, prompting Duterte to declare martial legislation in the complete southern area of Mindanao.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday known as the disaster in Marawi a “tragic situation” and stated US forces had been offering surveillance plane and essential recommendation for the Philippines forces within the battle there.
The US has for years supplied intel to the Philippines and has between 300 and 500 particular operations and common forces stationed within the nation.(AFP)