U.S. joins battle in Philippines but no boots on the ground: report

U.S. joins battle in Philippines but no boots on the ground: report
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U.S. military forces joined the fight against the Islamic State in the Philippines but has not put military troops on the ground, according to officials on Saturday.
 
"They are not fighting. They are just providing technical support," military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera said, according to Reuters.
 
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The U.S. is supporting the Philippines military to end a three week siege of Marawi City.
 
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has previously threatened to eject U.S. military trainers and advisers from his country, according to Reuters.
 
Trump invited Duterte to the White House in April, a surprise move that drew criticism considering hostility between Duterte and the previous administration. 
  
“The Philippines is very important to me strategically and militarily,” Trump told Bloomberg News in May. 
 
During a “very friendly” conversation the previous month, he and Duterte “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs,” the White House said.
 
Duterte has been accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers. More than 8,000 people have been killed since he began his drug crackdown eight months ago, according to Reuters.