Conflicts & War

Around 750 Myanmar junta forces deserted amid escalating rebel offensives

Bangkok, Nov 17 (EFE).- Around 750 members of the Myanmar junta forces have abandoned their ranks in the past 20 days since the rebel forces launched a large-scale operation late in October, opposition sources said.

The offensives, jointly launched by the pro-democracy forces of the self-proclaimed National Unity Government (NUG) and several ethnic minority armed groups, are perceived as the most significant threat to the junta’s rule since the military seized control of the country in a coup in 2021.

According to the anti-junta alliance, at least 750 members of the Myanmar security forces have deserted their ranks, with some of them joining the opposition forces, since the offensive codenamed “Operation 1027” began on Oct. 27.

The joint offensives involve the armed-wing of the NUG and the Brotherhood Alliance, composed mainly of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

The offensives against the junta forces are mainly concentrated in remote areas in the western state of Rakhine and northeastern state of Shan, which have caused many junta forces personnel to leave their ranks.

On Nov. 12, over 200 army soldiers defected to the allied forces in the Kokang region of Shan state, near the border with China, according to the opposition forces.

In a separate incident this week, over 40 junta soldiers abandoned their ranks, crossing the border into neighboring India due to the ongoing offensives.

“We extend our warm invitation and sincere appreciation to more members of Myanmar’s military junta soldiers and police forces to consider the peaceful path of surrender. We are waiting for more defectors,” the allied forces said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

The NUG claims that the allied forces have gained control of at least 10 cities from the Myanmar army in the west and northeast of the country, including six in Shan, two in Sagaing, and two in Chin and Rakhine states.

Humanitarian organizations have raised concerns that the ongoing offensives could worsen the humanitarian situation if clashes spread to major cities in Myanmar, one of southeast Asia’s most impoverished nations.

According to the United Nations, the ongoing operation has already displaced 200,000 people and resulted in the death of 75 civilians.

Military experts suggest that the Myanmar military is facing unexpected setbacks since the 2021 coup, which ended a decade of democratic transition by overthrowing the elected government led by the now-imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military coup has plunged the country into a deep political, social and economic crisis, triggering a spiral of violence, particularly with the emergence of new pro-democracy forces joining hands with ethnic minority militias, exacerbating the country’s decades-long ethnic conflicts. EFE


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