Monday, July 17, 2017

On the ground in Marawi amid Duterte's battle against ISIS

RT | Jul 16, 2017 | Andre Vltchek

© Jorge Silva / Reuters
"The pro-Western fraction wanted me out, detained, perhaps even disappeared. The other one that stands by its president wanted me to see the truth, to be allowed into Marawi."
 Covering the recent battle for the city of Marawi on Mindanao Island in the Southern Philippines, the Western media has been grossly exaggerating unconfirmed reports, rumors, as well as twisted ‘facts.'

At the beginning of July, I visited Mindanao as one of only a few foreigners allowed inside the besieged city of Marawi and to its surrounding area.

I spoke to local people, to the IDPs - those who managed to escape the city taken over by the jihadists. I also managed to discuss the situation with the highest commanders of the military in charge of the combat, including General Ramiro Rey and Lt. Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera. I encountered many soldiers, civil servants, and relief workers.

My contacts in the capital informed me via text messages that I had been “red-flagged,” clearly by the pro-US faction in the Philippine military. So before my presence was finally cleared from Manila, I was detained and held in a provisional military base in the city of Saguiaran. Here I was “softly” interrogated by military intelligence. A few steps away, a howitzer was firing artillery toward ISIS positions in Marawi, some 10 kilometers distant.

“So you believe the United States is responsible for spreading terrorism all over the world,” I was asked late at night by one of the officers, point blank. It was clear that someone ‘behind the scenes’ was busy studying my published work.

Read more at RT..

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