Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s rebel offensive approaches country’s second largest city

Bangkok, Nov 22 (EFE).- Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations and pro-democratic forces, which have emerged as the greatest challenge to the military since its 2021 coup, are approaching the country’s second largest city of Mandalay.

The rebels are about 50 kilometers from the city, in the center of the country and an important economic and cultural enclave of Myanmar, according to the National Unity Government (NUG), which proclaims itself the legitimate authority of the country since the coup.

The People’s Defense Forces (PDF), under the NUG and formed by young civilians who joined the fight against the military following the coup, and ethnic minority militias are already in Mandalay region, whose capital is the city of the same name.

The city of Mandalay is in turn located about 270 kilometers north of the capital, Naypyitaw, and is the largest and most important Myanmar city located closest to the advances of the rebel offensive.

Named Operation 1027 after its Oct. 27 start date, the offensive was launched by a group of three powerful ethnic guerrillas known as the Brotherhood Alliance in the northeastern state of Shan, and has since spread to other areas of the north, center and west of the country, such as Kayah, Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago, Mon, Rakhine and Chin.

Other ethnic militias and the PDF have also joined the operation.

Since it began, at least 286,000 people have been displaced, 187 have died, including women and children, and 246 have been injured, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its latest report on Tuesday.

The UN agency warned of the risk of further displacement and victims as a result of the spread of armed clashes to densely populated urban centers, and emphasized that the escalation of violence is “the largest in scale and most extensive geographically” since the military coup.

The coup ended a decade of democratic transition in Myanmar and the elected government of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since, and exacerbated decades of guerrilla warfare with the emergence of new anti-junta militias. EFE


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