Coronavirus giving ISIS a chance of revival in Philippines
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tries to reemerge in the Philippine city of Marawi, almost three years after it staged its bloodiest attacks in the city, which has a majority Muslim population.
ISIS is using the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines in drawing in new recruits and gaining a foothold in Asia.
Philippine authorities allocated huge funds for the reconstruction of Marawi, most of which was devastated because of attacks by terrorists affiliated to ISIS.
The terrorists tried to found a new ISIS province in the city, but the Philippine army countered by staging airstrikes on their hideouts, which caused the death of dozens of people and the displacement of over 400,000 others. A large number of the city's neighborhoods were also destroyed because of the airstrikes.
Chairperson of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research Rommel Banlaoi said ISIS is capable of maintaining its activities in the Philippines, despite the country's total lockdown.
It actively recruits new members and spreads radical ideas, especially in rural areas affected by the lockdown, he said.
Over 1,100 people were killed in the Philippines because of terrorist attacks. Around 350,000 others were displaced because of the violence, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Troops deployed in the southern Philippine city of Mindanao staged coordinated attacks on a number of fronts in February this year against militant groups affiliated to ISIS.
The authorities established a number of checkpoints in different places and distributed aid in areas controlled by the insurgents.