Locsin figures on Marawi, Raqqa conflicts inaccurate



Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin Jr. gave incorrect figures on the military conflicts in Marawi City in Mindanao and Raqqa in Syria.


In an Oct. 5 tweet, Locsin said:

Excuse me, we're proud of our boys who took back an ISIS-held city in 6 months in door-to-door fighting where the US took 6 years to take back Raqqa with an air war that left it a pancake. To be sure, Marawi looks like Swiss Cheese. In UNSC it was called "a perfect war.

This was in response to Joe Am’s tweet on “due process” in the country:

Whenever a top government official under pressure lays claim to ‘due process’, it screams ‘impunity’. There are different standards for poor people or the disadvantaged (Marawi). And even the opposition (De Lima). It’s a joke, basically.

Contrary to Locsin’s claim, the military operations in Marawi City occurred for 154 days or five months.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced on Oct. 23, 2017 the conclusion of the military operations in Marawi. He said at a press briefing:

After 154 days of the siege of Marawi by the Daesh-inspired Maute ISIS group, or after a week since the Commander-in-Chief declared the liberation of Marawi, we now announce the termination of all combat operations in Marawi.

The Department of National Defense released a statement on the military situation in Marawi and the imposition of martial law in Mindanao on May 24, 2017, saying:

The imposition of martial law in Mindanao is a necessary step in order for government security forces to stop the threat that these terrorists pose, who are mostly not originally from Marawi. As part of our operations, additional troops will be deployed to Marawi City to augment the forces already there.
The President's verbal declaration is valid, and as such Martial Law has been in effect since 10 PM last night. We emphasize, however, that Martial Law does not suspend the Constitution but authorizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take over law enforcement operations from the Philippine National Police, and conduct arrests and searches in accordance with the rule of law and human rights.”

Locsin also wrongly stated the Raqqa military operation took six years.


Several news outlets reported that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) regained the city of Raqqa from rebel groups in Syria in January 2014.


The battle lasted for four months beginning June. Military efforts to reclaim Raqqa took 11 months, not six years as Locsin claimed.


The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a major military operation on Nov. 5, 2016 to reclaim Raqqa and its surroundings from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed.


The SDF and US forces breached Raqqa City on June 6, 2017 and launched multiple attacks, news reports said.


On Oct. 26, SDF Spokesman Talal Sello announced ISIS finally lost control of the city.


The reports said the military operations were done by the SDF which was supported by US forces, and not US alone, contrary to Locsin’s other claim. (JGL)


References


ABS-CBN News. (2017, October 23). Marawi combat operations is over - Lorenzana [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPoInvPxvT4


Barnard, A. (2017, June 6). U.S.-Backed Forces Begin Assault on Raqqa, ISIS Stronghold in Syria. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/world/middleeast/us-backed-forces-begin-assault-on-raqqa.html


Dziadosz, A. (2014, January 16). More than 1,000 killed in Syria rebel infighting: monitor group. Reuters. Retrieved from https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-infighting/more-than-1000-killed-in-syria-rebel-infighting-monitor-group-idUSBREA0F0WU20140116


Department of National Defense. (2017, May 24). DND statement on the situation in Marawi City [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.dnd.gov.ph/PDF2017/DND%20Statement%20on%20the%20Situation%20in%20Marawi%20City%20-05-24-17.pdf


Hubbard, B., Krauss, C., & Schmitt, E. (2014, January 28). Rebels in Syria Claim Control of Resources. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/world/middleeast/rebels-in-syria-claim-control-of-resources.html


ISIL recaptures Raqqa from Syria’s rebels. (2014, January 15). Aljazeera. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/01/isil-recaptures-raqqa-from-syrias-rebels-2014114201917453586.html


Loveluck, L. (2017, June 6). U.S. coalition begins ‘long and difficult’ battle for Islamic State’s Raqqa stronghold. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/battle-for-islamic-states-raqqa-stronghold-in-syria-has-begun-says-us-coalition/2017/06/06/7faae60e-4a99-11e7-b69d-c158df3149e9_story.html


US seeks Turkish backing for Kurdish-led operation in Raqqa. (2016, November 6). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/06/kurdish-led-forces-plan-retake-raqqa-isis


US-backed forces fighting Islamic State enter Syria stronghold of Raqqa. (2017, June 8). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/08/us-backed-forces-fighting-islamic-state-enter-syria-stronghold-of-raqqa

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