10/28/2023, 15.42
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Ethnic rebel groups launch Operation 1027 to seize areas on the Chinese border

The Brotherhood Alliance began pre-dawn attacks yesterday and reportedly captured a number of outposts. Residents have confirmed that fighting is taking place, but it is not yet clear how many casualties there are. The group leading the military operation today ordered junta troops to surrender and handover their weapons, while urging Chinese nationals not to support the regime.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Three ethnic rebel groups have launched an offensive against the Myanmar military in the northern part of the country.

In a statement released yesterday, the Brotherhood Alliance (BA) said it had begun Operation 1027 in Shan State. The BA consists of the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

Although local media have reported casualties, the extent of the fighting and the number of fighters involved are unclear.

According to experts, the rebel groups (which are part of the armed resistance against the military since the latter seized power in a coup in February 2021) can call on to 15,000 troops.

Pro-government Telegram channels yesterday reported that the rebel groups started attacking 12 towns and settlements in an area of about 100 kilometres across.

The German dpa news agency said it had received information that the government-controlled towns of Lashio, Kyaukme, Naungcho, Chinshwehaw and Laukkaing had been targeted.

It appears that the operation is led by the MNDAA, which yesterday launched a series of raids against army positions at around 4 am.

The MNDAA said it had captured a number of "important strategic positions,” including outposts on the outskirts of Lashio.

Fighting was also reported at border crossings with China, near Mong Ko and Chin Shwe Haw, in the Kokang region.

Several residents also confirmed to local Burmese-language media that rebel groups had seized border areas, but amid the fighting, control of these areas can shift easily from one side to the other in a matter of hours.

“All shops are closed and no one is going out,” said a resident of Hopang township, about 10 kilometres from Chinshwehaw. “We can hear the sounds of aircraft and gunfire constantly,” they added. Meanwhile, all flights in and out Lashio airport have been cancelled.

Myanmar's border areas are home to scores of ethnic groups, some of whom have been fighting the central government for decades seeking autonomy and control over local resources.

The areas bordering China are also notorious for all sorts of illegal activities, including human trafficking.

Today, the MNDAA demanded that junta troops surrender and hand over their weapons immediately; it also asked Chinese nationals to refrain from taking part in activities against the rebel groups and not accept tasks from Myanmar’s military, suggesting that they are in control of the area.

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