"Our forces are in complete control of the city, except for certain areas where they continue to hold. These are the subject of clearing operations that are continuously being conducted," Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. was quoted as saying by GMA News.

"We are in full control, meaning to say we can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn't. And we're trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance that have remained," Padilla said.

The spokesman added that the military was seeking to "end this as soon as possible" although they did not have a timeline.

"Our ground commanders have assured that the end is almost there. So, we hope to get clear results," he said.

In an interview with Radio DZMM on Monday, another military spokesman, Col. Edgar Arevalo, said that the casualties after seven days of fighting included 61 Maute militants, 20 government troops and 19 civilians.

Arevalo stressed that recovering the casualties was not the government’s priority, as the military focused on the rescue of civilians and containing the terror threat.

Meanwhile, the city of Iligan, some 38 kilometers (23 miles) from Marawi, was placed on a lockdown on Monday amid reports that Maute rebels disguised as civilians had blended with the evacuees.

Col. Alex Aduca, chief of the Army's 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said in a phone interview with Radio DZMM that the evacuees would be denied entry to Iligan and instead sent to "consolidation and processing areas" in Matungao and Tagoloan towns, where they would be given basic services.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire southern island of Mindanao under martial law on May 23, Tuesday following clashes between government forces and the Daesh-linked Maute group in Marawi city.

Anadolu Agency