Airstrikes Continue After Myanmar Junta Suffers Heavy Losses

By The Irrawaddy 28 March 2022

Myanmar’s military continues using helicopters to attack villages near the Thai border in Myawaddy Township where its troops are suffering heavy losses. 

Daily fighting has continued in the Karen State border district for months amid heavy junta reinforcements, artillery and airstrikes.

An estimated 61 junta soldiers were killed and weapons seized in Myawaddy Township on Sunday, according to Cobra, a resistance group fighting alongside the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).

Junta troops were ambushed in Waw Lay near the Lay Kay Kaw new town on Sunday morning and lasted all day.

The resistance forces suffered no casualties, despite junta airstrikes, the group said.

Two airstrikes were carried out on Sunday on Kler Doh village in Kawkareik Township, which is held by the Karen National Union (KNU), while Myanmar marked its 77th Armed Forces Day.

Airstrikes were carried out in the south of the township on Friday and Saturday, damaging civilian homes.

Two fighter jets also dropped four bombs in Day Pu Noh village in KNU territory in Papun district, destroying homes.

Around 150,000 civilians have been displaced in Karen State, according to the International Karen Organization (IKO).

“The military’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets violate international law, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity and there must be accountability,” said the IKO on Monday.

The Myawaddy-Kawkareik road, a major border trade highway, was closed on Sunday because of the fighting.

Six Brigade of the KNLA, the KNU’s armed wing, which controls part of Myawaddy Township, urged residents on Saturday not to use the road.

A KNLA letter said the junta ignored demands to stop sending reinforcements, harassing the public and not deploy troops in southern Kawkareik and Lay Kay Kaw. 

Instead, the regime was using the Myawaddy-Kawkareik and Myawaddy-Waw Lay roads to attack resistance forces, it said. 

“The KNLA, our allies and the KNU’s Kawkareik Township administration request people to temporarily stop using the road,” said the letter.

On Monday, a man in his 50s was killed when the vehicle he was in was shot on the Myawaddy-Kawkareik highway on Sunday morning, according to the White Pearl social relief group in Kawkareik.

Another vehicle was hit near the same spot on Monday morning.

Fighting has intensified in the area and witnesses said it was hard to identify which side fired. Junta troops are also staging ambushes on the road, said a resident.

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