Militants kill 13 Philippine marines in wartorn Marawi city

US Special Forces in the forest. Image via Shutterstock

For the past 18 days, boys such as these and their adult commanders have occupied the centre of Marawi, a city of 221,000 people in the southern Philippines.

"The presence of our USA counterparts facilitates exchanges of intelligence ... and also provides training exchanges and, of course, the technical support that we are sharing together in the fight against global terrorism", he added.

How will the United States help with the terrorist takeover? Their relationship provided Washington with a strategic foothold in Asia, and offered Manila a shield against China's assertiveness in the region.

Farhana was nabbed along with two wounded Maute fighters after their vehicles were intercepted in the town of Masiu, Lanao del Sur - some 36 kilometers from the warzone - ARMM Regional Police Director Reuben Theodore Sindac was quoted by ABS-CBN news as saying.

The Maute bothers' father was arrested on Tuesday and transferred to a Manila detention facility amid fears the group's fighters might attempt to rescue him.

GMA News said the militants, who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, had been armed with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices during the clash.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban and Haqqani network are active in Paktia and neighbouring provinces and often target government officials as well as Afghan security forces in the region.

The fresh casualties brought to 58 the number of government troops killed in the fighting, Herrera said.

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"These 63 accounts are spreading malicious information and misinformation that affect the information landscape and the mindset of every Filipino", Herrera told reporters.

Philippine military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera confirmed the United States special forces would be assisting local troops to end the siege, but only to provide technical support.

"We want to provide a service where people feel safe".

Without confirming the specific request from the Philippines, a Facebook spokesman said the company has "well-established law enforcement channels for governments to contact us about emergencies". "Fake accounts are also prohibited".

The military on Saturday said that this is the biggest single-day loss for the government forces in a battle which has been ongoing for almost three weeks.

Philippine army spokesman Brig Gen Restituto Padilla Jr has vowed that the national flag will be flying once again over all of Marawi by Monday - the Philippine national day.

INSIDE STORY: What's behind the latest crisis in the Philippines?

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