Timeline of crisis in Philippine southern city of Marawi

Government soldiers stand guard in front of damaged building and houses in Sultan Omar Dianalan boulevard at the Mapandi district in Marawi city, on Sept 23, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA - The deaths of top militant leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute are a major victory for the Philippine military which has been criticised for its slow progress in driving out rebels who overran the southern city in May.

Here's a timeline of the key events in the Marawi siege:

May 23:

Hundreds of Muslim militants overrun Marawi, a city of about 200,000, considered as centre of the Islamic faith in the southern island of Mindanao. The surprise attack comes after security forces attempt to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, designated South-east Asia "emir" of the ultra-radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The gunmen seize a hospital, free inmates at a jail, torch a number of buildings, take hostages including Catholic priest Teresito Soganub, and dig in.

May 24:

President Rodrigo Duterte, in Moscow for a scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, places Mindanao, home to 20 million, under martial rule. Marawi residents begin to evacuate. Within the week, security officials disclose that among the militants are fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

May 30:

By this time, over 80,000 has fled Marawi.

June 1:

Ten soldiers are killed in friendly fire, in the first big setback for the military in its bid to retake Marawi.

June 2:

A deadline set by Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to end the conflict lapses.

June 6:

Security forces arrest Cayamora Maute, the ailing father of militant brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute, who with Hapilon plotted and led the Marawi siege.

June 9:

The Maute brothers' mother, Ominta Romato Maute, also known as "Farhana", is arrested. She is said to have financed her sons' efforts to form an armed group to protect the family's turf.

June 10:

Thirteen Marines are killed as they try to clear homes and buildings amid sniper fire and booby traps.

June 12:

The military again misses a self-imposed deadline to liberate Marawi on Philippine independence day.

June 13:

The government announces it is aware of the ISIS plot to seize Marawi, but admits to underestimating the enemy's strength and resolve.

June 19:

Security officials announce they have seized 11kg of methamphetamine with a street value of 250 million pesos (S$6.6 million). They claim the militants are being fuelled by methamphetamine, and that the conflict in Marawi has its roots in a turf war over drugs.

July 20:

Duterte visits Marawi for the first time.

July 22:

Congress agrees to extend martial law in Mindanao till the end of the year. Another deadline lapses.

July 29:

After a two-month standoff, security forces finally gain a major victory. They seize two bridges leading to positions held by the militants in Marawi's now bombed-out business district.

Aug 4:

Duterte visits Marawi for a second time.

Aug 22:

The Marawi campus of Mindanao State University re-opens, amid heavy guard.

Aug 24:

Duterte visits Marawi for a third time, just after the army retakes a grand mosque and a police station.

Aug 25:

Security forces retake a Catholic cathedral seen in an ISIS video early in the fighting being vandalised by the militants.

Aug 27:

Cayamora Maute, a diabetic, dies in detention, as he experiences hypertension.

Sept 1:

Security officials say the military is on its "final push", and that fighting is expected to intensify.

Sept 11:

Duterte visits Marawi for the fourth time.

Sept 17:

Catholic priest Soganub is rescued.

Sept 21:

Duterte visits Marawi for a fifth time. He shows a matrix claiming drug money fuelled the Marawi war.

Sept 23:

Security forces retake the last of three strategic bridges in Marawi.

Sept 30:

The military misses yet another deadline.

Oct 7:

More hostages escape, but reports say the militants are holding some 60 more.

Oct 9:

The military sets an Oct 15 deadline.

Oct 14:

By this time, a total of 161 soldiers and 47 civilians have already died in the battle. The military claims killing at least 817 militants. Over 359,600, meanwhile, have been displaced.

Oct 15:

The deadline set for ending the war.

Oct 16:

Government forces kill Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute.

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