Myanmar Military Clashes with Resistance Forces in Myawaddy, Forcing Journalists to Flee

Fierce fighting erupts on Myanmar-Thailand border as resistance forces seize control of vital trade hub Myawaddy, forcing thousands to flee to Thailand. A major setback for the cash-strapped Myanmar junta facing multiple conflicts.

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Myanmar Military Clashes with Resistance Forces in Myawaddy, Forcing Journalists to Flee

Myanmar Military Clashes with Resistance Forces in Myawaddy, Forcing Journalists to Flee

On April 21, 2024, fierce fighting erupted between Myanmar's military and resistance forces in the town of Myawaddy, located on the Myanmar-Thailand border. The clashes forced around 3,000 civilians to flee across the border into Thailand, as resistance fighters and ethnic minority rebels battled with junta troops.

Resistance fighters and ethnic minority rebels had seized control of Myawaddy on April 11th, dealing a significant blow to the Myanmar military, which is struggling to govern and facing challenges on the battlefield. During the latest fighting, resistance forces used heavy weapons, including 40mm machine guns and drone-dropped bombs, to target an estimated 200 junta soldiers who had retreated to the border area. "The sound of gunfire was audible from the Thai side," according to local reports.

The Myanmar military responded with airstrikes, but the accounts of the fighting could not be immediately verified. Witnesses reported hearing explosions and heavy machine gun fire near a strategic bridge connecting Myawaddy to the Thai town of Mae Sot. "The bridge was closed, and Thai authorities were closely monitoring the situation," the Thai army confirmed.

Why this matters: The ongoing conflict in Myanmar has escalated into a full-scale war, with the military junta facing unprecedented losses on the battlefield against ethnic armed organizations and resistance forces. The capture of Myawaddy, a vital trade hub seeing over $1.1 billion in trade annually, is a major setback for the cash-strapped military regime.

Thai authorities are closely monitoring the situation and have expressed readiness to provide humanitarian assistance if necessary, while also urging Myanmar to exercise caution to avoid violating Thai sovereignty. Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said the country is ready to protect its borders and provide aid to the refugees. "Around 2,000 people have crossed the Thai border due to the intensifying fighting," local officials reported.

The capture of Myawaddy is a significant setback for the Myanmar junta, which is facing multiple low-intensity conflicts and an economic crisis since the 2021 coup. Experts indicate that despite the resistance's efforts to establish liberated zones, the government maintains control over critical military and strategic locations. As the fighting continues, essential journalists have been forced to flee the area while reporting on the ongoing conflict, highlighting the challenges faced by the media in covering the unrest in Myanmar.

Key Takeaways

  • Fierce fighting erupted between Myanmar military and resistance forces in Myawaddy town.
  • Around 3,000 civilians fled to Thailand as resistance fighters battled junta troops.
  • Resistance forces used heavy weapons, including drone-dropped bombs, against estimated 200 junta soldiers.
  • Capture of Myawaddy, a vital trade hub, is a major setback for Myanmar's cash-strapped military regime.
  • Thai authorities are monitoring the situation and ready to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees.