MANILA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- After almost four months of fierce fighting, Philippine authorities said on Monday that the battle to recapture the southern Philippine city of Marawi from the pro-Islamic State (IS) fighters is drawing to an end.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a news conference that he believes that the 118-day conflict will end soon.
"We just need to clear an area of about 10 hectares which are still under the control of the militants," he said.
Chief of staff of the armed forces of the Philippines Gen. Eduardo Ano said three of the five jihadist leaders of the militants that attacked Marawi in May have already been killed.
The military said there are an estimated 60 to 80 IS fighters left after nearly 700 of them have been killed in the ongoing conflict.
At least 10 Malaysian and Indonesian militants are also helping the local Maute terrorists, Ano said.