POLITICS

Philippines Fight: Payne Heads To Manila For IS Clash Talks

Australia wants a bigger role in the fight.

02/09/2017 10:57 AM AEST | Updated 02/09/2017 10:59 AM AEST

Defence Minister Marise Payne will travel to the Philippines with an offer to send special forces soldiers to the country to help defeat the Islamic State group.

Payne will reportedly travel to the Philippines capital Manila for talks on the fighting between government forces and Islamist rebels around the southern city of Marawi.

Australian surveillance planes are already providing intel to local forces, but the Turnbull Government wants to ramp up assistance, including sending special forces to the conflict zone.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop indicated this week that nothing formal had been agreed between the government and the Duterte administration.

ANU security expert John Blaxland told Sky News a large number of people were at risk of radicalisation in Marawi.

"We noticed that there is a significant risk of Marawi becoming effectively the Mosul of Mindanao and of this becoming something bigger than just a Fillipino problem which covers the region," Professor Blaxland told Sky News.

"We know that a lot of the trade, a lot of the connections, a lot of the people are coming and going across the Sulu Sea from Malaysia and Indonesia ... This is a grave concern."

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