The Battle of Marawi, one year on

Charles Knight, Katja Theodorakis

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationProfessional blog or online forum


One year ago, a gruelling five-month house-to-house, room-to-room battle ended a campaign by Islamic State–inspired militants to turn Marawi into the capital of ‘wilayat sharq Asiyya’, a Southeast Asian province of their imagined empire.

The brutal seizure of the city, brazenly announced on social media with raised index fingers, black flags and the smashing of Christian ‘idols’, was over. The self-proclaimed leaders of IS in Southeast Asia, Ipsilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers, were dead and most of their fighters reportedly killed or in custody. The city was liberated on 23 October 2017.

Yet, victory is marked by destruction: pockmarked buildings and tangled piles of twisted concrete. Walking the deserted streets of Marawi’s main battle area last week, we heard Philippine soldiers’ first-hand accounts of the battle. Fighting an enemy fuelled by ideological hatred and longstanding grievances was gruelling, let alone the plight of civilians caught in the fight.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Strategist
PublisherAustralian Strategic Policy Institute
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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