Junta Airstrikes Hit Lower Myanmar as Fighting Intensifies

By The Irrawaddy 21 February 2022

The Myanmar junta has launched airstrikes in and around the town of Moebye in Kayah State, where intense clashes between regime soldiers and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) have been taking place since last Wednesday.

Fighting broke out on February 16 when two junta armored cars and over one thousand regime soldiers entered Heigh Kwee Dam and War Yi Phu Pha Lai Village near Moebye.

Resistance fighters from Moebye PDF, Loikaw PDF, Demoso PDF, Pekon PDF, Karenni Army, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, Karenni Generation Z Army, Fight for Justice and other groups are battling the military regime forces.

One resistance fighter told The Irrawaddy that there have been daily junta air and artillery strikes in and around Moebye.

“While we are talking, the airstrikes are coming”, he said.

“The fighting is still going on. It has been six days now,” he added.

War Yi Phu Pha Lai and Wi Thae Ku Shar villages, which are close to the border of Kayah and Shan states, are seeing the most intense clashes.

On Monday, PDF fighters claimed to have killed a number of regime soldiers. One resistance fighter was killed.

Last Thursday, around 20 PDF fighters died in the fighting. However, the PDFs claim that junta casualties are far higher.

A local resident told The Irrawaddy that artillery based in Pekon Township has been firing at least five times a day.

“The blast from the artillery shakes the walls of our houses. Some walls are cracking now.”

Thousands of people from Moebye, Pekon and the town of Nan Mei Khon have fled the fighting.

Over 170,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Kayah State, with clashes taking place almost daily in Loikaw and Demoso townships, according to the Karenni Human Rights Group, which is helping the refugees.

Some 120,000 of those displaced are still in Kayah State, taking shelter at monasteries and in the forest, after being forced from their homes by junta raids and air and artillery strikes. The largest number of refugees come from Demoso Township.

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