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ISIS extremists put Southeast Asia on alert as Marawi siege lifted

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ISIS extremists put Southeast Asia on alert as Marawi siege lifted

Marawi
Photo: Bangsamoro News
Photo: Bangsamoro News

The recent lifting of the bloody Marawi siege by the Philippine army is a stark reminder to other nations of the growing threat of extremist groups in the region. As ISIS faces complete defeat in Syria, there is concern that the jihadist cause will be taken up in Southeast Asia.

Of particular interest are the thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing a brutal crackdown in Myanmar; they could serve as a key demographic for ISIS recruitment.

The siege in Marawi City demonstrated how highly organised and well equipped Abu Sayyaf forces are, as they were supplied through arms smuggling networks from Malaysia and Indonesia.

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These cross-border networks will be a key focus of ASEAN defence cooperation in the coming year. This entails closer intelligence sharing, increased joint military operations and anti-radicalism campaigns in vulnerable regions. However, expect ISIS recruitment and resourcing to ramp up as well.

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