Myanmar Junta Uses Airstrikes to Relieve Trapped Troops in Kachin State 

By The Irrawaddy 20 July 2022

Myanmar’s junta conducted heavy airstrikes against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and people’s defense forces (PDF) to allow trapped troops to escape from Hpakant Township, Kachin State, on Tuesday. 

Clashes between regime forces and combined KIA troops and PDFs erupted near Sezin village in the west of the township on July 16. 

Three days of junta airstrikes aim to allow encircled junta forces to escape, according to residents and media outlets. 

On Tuesday, two jets and a helicopter reportedly conducted approximately 20 attacks over several hours. 

A Hpakant resident told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that a teenage villager lost a hand while a boy was seriously injured in junta airstrikes. 

Hundreds of civilians are trapped in the area while many others have fled, residents said. 

Kachin Waves, a media outlet, reported that at least 50 regime troops and a resistance fighter had been killed. Four resistance fighters and a junta battalion commander have been injured, it reported. 

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports. 

Two junta helicopters purportedly airlifted reinforcements and food to Sezin on Tuesday. Clashes continued on Wednesday, according to a resident. 

On Monday, the KIA also ambushed around 200 reinforcements, including troops from the Shanni Nationalities Army, in adjacent Homalin Township, Sagaing Region. 

Reinforcements have been sent to Sezin from Sagaing, media groups reported. 

Clashes between KIA and the junta also broke out in Tanai and Waingmaw townships, Kachin State, and in Kutkai Township, northern Shan State, in the last two days. 

Junta forces face near-daily attacks and ambushes from PDFs and some ethnic armed organizations across the country.