‘Fighting spirit’: How Myanmar’s armed resistance is taking new ground

Shan and Kayah States, Myanmar – The truck rocked violently as the driver attempted to manoeuvre the rough terrain of Shan State’s dirt roads.

As the wheels spun, trying to find traction, the Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA) soldiers inside exchanged glances, nervous about the battle to come, but composed and determined.

The platoon was part of a convoy of vehicles making its way towards a small village, high in the mountains, ahead of a new offensive against Myanmar’s armed forces and an armed group aligned with the military government that seized power in a coup in 2021.

Armed with AK-47s, M-16s, and rocket launchers, they planned to retake multiple outposts near Hopong Township in Shan State, in the east of the country.

“We cannot attack directly, we have to check the area first and then attack slowly,” a PLNA soldier named Kyaw Zin explained at a ridge a few kilometres away from the front line. Further to the north, a key road was under the control of the Myanmar military preventing vital resources from being funnelled to the PNLA and other armed resistance groups further south.

Amid the constant threat of weaponised drones and air strikes from military fighter jets, the PNLA said they expected the fight to last at least 30 days. As the sound of gunfire and mortar shelling ricocheted around the amber-coloured hills, the fighters said they were confident they would win.

PNLA troops
The Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA) is one of several ethnic armed groups fighting to remove the military regime [Caleb Quinley/Al Jazeera]

The PNLA is riding the momentum of a series of victories for anticoup fighters in northern Shan State since the Three Brotherhood Alliance launched “Operation 1027” towards the end of last year. The coalition of three powerful ethnic armed organisations has taken control of hundreds of military outposts and dozens of towns in Shan and Rakhine States since the offensive began, and reinvigorated the campaign against the military in other parts of the country.

Fighting has also escalated in Kayah State (Karenni), just south of Shan State.

The Karenni National Defence Forces (KNDF) launched its own offensive on November 11, 2023, “Operation 1111”, aiming to take control of the state capital of Loikaw. About half the city, controlled by the military since the coup, is now in the hands of the Karenni resistance.

The KNDF has also taken control of Demoso, Mese and Ywar Thit as well as the strategically important township of Shadaw.

Crime Today News | World

Source | Powered by Yes Mom Hosting

Crime Today News

Welcome to Crime Today News, your trusted source for timely and unbiased news coverage. Since our inception in 2014, we have been dedicated to delivering the latest updates to our valued readers and viewers across Telangana.

Related Posts