Myanmar Regime Calls In Air Strikes as Fighting for Key Road in Karen State Continues

By The Irrawaddy 24 August 2022

The Myanmar military junta carried out air raids against combined forces of the Karen National Union (KNU) and resistance groups on a strategic road linking Waw Lay and Myawaddy in Karen State on Tuesday.

Since Monday, junta troops from the Myanmar military’s divisions 22, 44 and 77 have been engaged in fierce clashes with the Cobra Column group at a place known locally as “Three-Tier” on the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road north of Myawaddy. Cobra Column is headed by Lieutenant Dar Baw of the KNU’s Brigade 6.

The regime used heavy guns as well as seven fighter aircraft including Yak-130 light combat aircraft to drop cluster bombs on Karen resistance fighters, Cobra Column said.

The clash occurred as the regime attempted to take back the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road, which has been controlled by Cobra Column since March. The road is a strategic route that the junta seeks to control in order to send reinforcements to Ukayit Hta, its major outpost in Waw Lay, as it tries to recapture the Thay Baw Boe outpost, which was seized by the KNU’s armed wing the Karen National Liberation Army and allied People’s Defense Force fighters on May 18.

Cobra Column said two resistance fighters died and seven others were injured in two days of fighting. It could not confirm junta casualties.

The Irrawaddy was unable to contact Cobra Column officials on Wednesday for details on the latest developments on the road.

Fighting on the road has been raging for months. The regime has been unable to take it back despite repeated attempts that have cost it heavy casualties. A clash in July left a regime battalion commander and deputy battalion commander dead and many others wounded, and prompted many troops to flee.