Marawi battle zone down to 20 hectares

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – The battle zone in Marawi City has been narrowed down to just 20 hectares, said Joint Task Force Marawi spokesman Captain Jo-ann Petinglay in a press briefing on Friday, September 8.

"Our soldiers are still trying to clear a portion of about 20-21 hectares land area in the main battle area," she said.

It is about the size of the campus of University of Santo Tomas in Manila, except the battle zone is a commercial area packed with high-rise buildings. (READ: Marawi battle zone: Urban warfare challenges PH military

As of Day 109 of the war, a total of 843 people have been killed – 145 soldiers, 45 civilians, and 653 terrorists – based on military updates. 

The military recorded no additional fatalities since Monday, but 30 soldiers were injured mainly from explosions of improvised explosive devices. (READ: Snipers and IEDs: Deadly combination in Marawi war zone)

Last week, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez said they are "transitioning to the final push," signalling a shift to end the war that has dragged on for over 3 months. 

He said the war could be over "before October." 

In Manila, Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the military believes 5 of the 6 Maute brothers leading the extremists linked with the Islamic State (ISIS) have been killed. –