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Three challenges for Asean in military's growing role in fighting terror

Battle for Marawi highlights reasons for reliance on troops, as well as its risks

Philippine soldiers in Marawi's Bangolo district last October after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city liberated from terrorist influence.
Philippine soldiers in Marawi's Bangolo district last October after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city liberated from terrorist influence. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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Early next month, Singapore will convene an international symposium on counter-terrorism that will bring together security officials, practitioners and academics from South-east Asia and beyond to discuss the evolving terrorist threat in this region and ways to address it.

Counter-terrorism has taken centre stage in Asean security discussions in response to worrying trends such as last year's conflict in Marawi in the southern Philippines. That conflict saw groups inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria mobilising an unprecedented number of fighters and engaging in urban military warfare, leading observers to refer to Marawi as the "Mosul of South-east Asia".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2018, with the headline Three challenges for Asean in military's growing role in fighting terror. Subscribe