MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has suspended the military offensive in Marawi, citing concerns over the safety of some 300 civilians being held by Islamic militants still holed up in some parts of the besieged city.
“We will finish it. We are not joking. Until the last terrorist is taken out, the war will continue. They have 300 hostages there and that is what is delaying (the operations),” the President said in his second State of the Nation Address.
“Sabi ko, huwag mo muna i-assault (I said, hold off the assault) if possible. We just have to wait it out,” he added.
The safety of the civilians, he pointed out, is the primary consideration of government forces.
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