Myanmar’s regime has suffered a heavy defeat to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State despite using airstrikes, according to analysts.
Fighting broke out after the regime airlifted an estimated 200 troops in five helicopters to northwest Namhsan Township on December 7 to attack a TNLA base.
TNLA is an ethnic armed group that has been fighting for autonomy for the ethnic Palaung or Ta’ang people in northern Shan State.
One helicopter landed near a hill where TNLA troops were deployed and came under attack. Junta troops were soon besieged while regime bases shelled the rebel troops, according to residents.
The regime has now carried out around 30 air raids, Shwe Phi Myay media reported. Ten air raids were reported on Sunday.
Junta troops were reportedly trapped near Konethar village where some were captured by the TNLA last Friday.
By Sunday remaining junta troops were surrounded by TNLA troops, according to sources from the rebel group.
“The regime has not been able to send ground reinforcements for fear that they would also be besieged by the TNLA. The regime can’t send airborne soldiers as TNLA’s attacks on helicopters have proved to be damaging,” said a military analyst.
The TNLA has not reported on junta casualties. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.
Dozens of buildings, including a monastery, were burned and damaged in the fighting. Around 2,000 villagers have fled their homes.
The Namhsan assault has been compared to a 40-day operation at Meewa village in northern Kyauktaw Township, Rakhine State, in March and April 2020.
The regime dispatched troops in eight helicopters to rescue soldiers besieged by the Arakan Army (AA). The AA crushed the entire junta deployment and captured around 10 soldiers, including the battalion commander. He appeared not to have been released.