PH monitoring ISIS fighters from Middle East — Lorenzana
CLARK FREEPORT — The Philippines has received a “long list of names” of Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino fighters who might return home from the Middle East as they lose their territory there, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday.
“Recently I got a message from our embassy in Baghdad and we have this information from the intelligence and they have a list of names, long list of names of Malaysians and Indonesians fighting in Iraq, a couple of Filipinos who might come back,” he told reporters in a press briefing.
Monitoring the terrorists who are returning home from Syria and Iraq has become “a collective effort by the regional defense establishments,” he said.
Military leaders and strategists have expressed alarm that Asia could be the next ISIS foothold as fighters from the region return to their home countries.
Australian defense minister Marise Payne said they are focused on working with neighboring countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia to be vigilant in terms of border protection.
“We know that to prevent its spread all countries in the region must work cooperatively, which is why Australia is committed to supporting the Philippines in this task,” she said.
During the five-month Marawi siege that was officially terminated on Monday, Australia provided assistance by sending its surveillance planes.
To combat terrorism over long term, Australia will also send mobile teams to train Philippine troops on counterterrorism and urban warfare.
Aside from the training, Payne said they will also increase intelligence cooperation, and enhance maritime security engagement and bilateral patrols.
The Royal Australian Navy is also expected to conduct ship visits to the Philippines. /je
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