Myawaddy reportedly retaken by the junta as rebels staged a ‘tactical’ retreat. Karen forces vow to counterattack and destroy the redeployed junta forces in the border area. Thailand plans trade reopening amid initiatives on talks.

Confirmed reports suggest that the Myanmar military junta has retaken Myawaddy’s Battalion 275 headquarters from rebel forces. Despite this, Karen National Union forces have pledged to counterattack and destroy the junta troops sent in. The Myawaddy area is of strategic importance in the fight against the junta in Burma by the forces of the democratic government. In addition to being an economically important border crossing, it is also a key supply route for Yangon. This is the country’s biggest city and most important economic centre. The news comes after days of heavy fighting.

Myanmar military forces, or the Tatmadaw, reentered Myawaddy, in force, in recent days. Despite heavy fighting, the junta forces are understood to have retaken the border area. (Right) Meanwhile, the Karen National Liberation Army and the People’s Defence Armed Forces (PDF) staged a ‘tactical’ retreat from the area.

Reports confirmed by both Reuters and the AFP suggest that junta forces in Myanmar have retaken a key military base in Myawaddy. It comes after days of heavy fighting during which Karen forces held off the junta’s reinforcements.

The news comes following reports of heavy fighting in the last week. Indeed, this included the removal of junta troops from a key Mae Sot border crossing.

However, on Wednesday, a junta spokesman confirmed the base where the Karen flag was raised last week had been retaken.

In addition, junta troops appear to have been redeployed in force into Myawaddy while rebel forces have retreated.

Battalion headquarters where the Karen flag was raised last week has just been retaken by advancing junta forces in Myawaddy. Rebels vow to counterattack

The headquarters of the 275th battalion was recaptured by advancing junta forces.

It is understood the position is strategically important.

The border crossing with Thailand is a key supply route for Yangon. Yangon is Burma’s economic powerhouse. In addition, the border crossing point generates foreign trade of $1 billion for the failing Burmese economy.

Tyrant of Nay Pyi Taw’s days are numbered as Karen soldiers burn the hated Myanmar flag in Myawaddy

In the meantime, the town of Myawaddy is reported to be peaceful. Similarly, refugees are presently returning to the area from Thailand.

Thai government working to reopen trade and commercial activities with Burma. It is rumoured that talks and negotiations are ongoing between the parties

A spokesman on the Thai side of the border, Mr Nikorndej Balankura, said that there were plans to reopen the trade point. It comes with reports of talks between the junta and rebel forces brokered by Thailand.

‘The situation has improved significantly,’ Mr Nikorndej explained to reporters. ‘Nevertheless, we are closely monitoring it, as it is highly uncertain and can change.’

The Thai spokesman furthermore explained that the Bangkok government had urged Laos, the current chair of the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian nations, to step up dialogue between the parties to the conflict.

At the same time, the reports were confirmed by the Burmese democratic forces led by the Karen National Union (KNU). A spokesperson explained that its forces have staged a ‘tactical retreat’ from the area.

Rebel forces confirm a ‘tactical retreat’ but have promised to return and ‘destroy’ the reoccupying junta forces that have been transported to Myawaddy

However, they vowed to counterattack and destroy the junta regime’s forces at a later point.

‘KNLA troops will destroy the junta troops and their backup troops who marched to Myawaddy,’ declared Saw Taw Nee. 

In brief, the Karen National Liberation Army is the army of the Karen National Union. In addition to being one of the most powerful ethnic armies within Burma, it has been bolstered by the People’s Defence Armed Forces (PDF). 

The latter is the military wing of the National Unity Government, which comprises former democratic forces including the National League for Democracy, the now outlawed party of Aung San Suu Kyi.

However, the democratic movement has wider support, particularly among young people in Burma. In short, this is democratic resistance against the military, which has dominated Burma since 1962.

Clear goal is to end the Tatmadaw and its usurpation of the democratic will of Burmese people since 1962

The goal of this revolution is to defeat and disband the Tatmadaw. In brief, this is the hated and despised military in Myanmar. It staged a coup d’état on February 1st 2021.

Meanwhile, the Burmese people never accepted the junta which resulted from the overthrow of the government. 

In short, military rule is seen by many people as having stymied the country in the last sixty years.

The public had come to cherish the era of democracy ushered in after the 2015 General Election.

At this time, the National Unity Government aims to create a new federated Burma with numerous autonomous states.

Nonetheless, the junta had been expected to retake Myawaddy. 

Concern over the role of the feared and disreputable Border Guard Force led by a crooked warlord who turned coat earlier this year against the junta regime

Certainly, there are additional concerns about the role of the Border Guard Force (BGF).

This military force had been seen as a key junta ally up to this year. Indeed, it was seen as a vicious fighting force opposed to the people.

Previously, it executed a number of reported People’s Defence Armed Forces (PDF) soldiers sent across the border from Thailand.

For instance, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome, in April 2023, raised such a case in the Thai parliament. It concerned three People’s Defence Armed Forces (PDF) soldiers handed over to the force by General Prayut’s government.

Rome calls for clarity on handling of Myanmar rebels reportedly handed back to the military junta

One was summarily executed by the Border Guard Force in Burma after allegedly trying to escape.

The other two were later unaccounted for. Afterwards, the junta claimed they had been sent to one of its notorious prisons.

Leader Saw Chit Thu was sanctioned by the UK for his human trafficking activities. He is also linked to illegal gambling and call centre scam centres

Presently, renamed the Karen State Border Guard Force since earlier in 2024, when it disassociated itself from the junta, there is some ambiguity about its role in recent days.

However, the nature of this organisation does not lend credibility to the rebels’ cause.

The leader of the opportunist militia is Mr Saw Chit Thu. 

At this time, there are fears that this individual has become a renegade warlord. Taking advantage of the conflict, he is understood to have extensive criminal commercial enterprises.

Certainly, this includes scam centres and illegal gambling operations. In addition, the militia leader has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom for human trafficking.

Thailand’s government has become more active. Three cabinet ministers visited Tak province on Tuesday

Thailand has been more active in recent weeks since the fall of Myawaddy to the national democratic forces.

Indeed, three cabinet ministers flew into Tak Airport on Tuesday.

They included Deputy Prime Ministers Parmpree Bahiddha-Nu-Kara and Anutin Charnvirakul. The Foreign Minister and the Minister of the Interior were joined by Minister of Defence Sutin Klangsaeng.

They flew into Mae Sot International Airport on a Royal Thai Airforce executive jet.

Military offensive launched in Rakhine State by the powerful Arakan Army chief to take a strategically important port city and market town just announced

At the same time, it is expected that the battle for Myawaddy will continue.

In addition, military offensives are being launched by the National Unity Government throughout Burma.

The aim is not only to keep the junta of General Min Aung Hlaing on the back foot but to weaken and collapse it. The latest push is in Western Rakhine State.

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Further reading:

Tyrant of Nay Pyi Taw’s days are numbered as Karen soldiers burn the hated Myanmar flag in Myawaddy

Crumbling Burmese junta sends a plane to Tak to rescue retreating soldiers. They failed to show up as rebels advance

Outgoing Foreign Minister defends his two days of regional dialogue with Myanmar held in Pattaya

Hated Burmese junta regime seeks peace talks as its grip on power across the country unravels

Bangkok sends delegation to meet Myanmar’s pariah junta regime in its eerie capital Nay Pyi Taw

Rising Anger at Myanmar’s regime is leading to scrutiny of its clandestine business links with Thailand

UN official slams ‘Distorted’ international response to Myanmar after Horrific junta atrocity

Myanmar’s junta crumbles along with Russia’s war in Ukraine as US progresses in the Indo Pacific

Desperate Myanmar junta executes 4 including a former MP and pro-democracy activist by hanging

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Thailand calls for Myanmar talks as besieged coup leader is barred from the ASEAN summit in Brunei

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Crisis in Myanmar threatens to escalate as Thai authorities monitor the situation on a daily basis