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Operation 1027: One month of Brotherhood Alliance offensive

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

On Nov. 24, Brotherhood Alliance member the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) claimed that it had captured a military base in Lashio Township of Shan State after 28 days of fighting. The Brotherhood launched Operation 1027 in northern Shan State on Oct. 27 with the stated aim to protect civilians, maintain control of territory, shut down cyber scam centers, and respond to military attacks. 

Nationwide, the military has reportedly lost more than 180 military bases and six towns to anti-coup forces. An Air Force jet fighter plane crashed in Karenni State. A resistance group claimed to have shot it down, but the military stated that it was a mechanical failure. One of the two pilots was captured and is being held by Karenni forces.

The Brotherhood consists of the TNLA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Arakan Army (AA). Since it launched Operation 1027, multiple fronts have been opened by resistance groups against the military across the country. Security analysts state that pro-military forces have been severely weakened as a result.

Shan State (northeastern Myanmar)

Ten civilians were killed by artillery in Laukkai, located in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone of northern Shan State, on Nov. 22. Electricity and telecommunications have been cut. A transportation ban means no delivery trucks are reaching the town and residents are in need of food, water and medicine. A 1.3 kg bag of rice now costs one million kyat ($291 USD), according to trapped residents unable to leave due to road closures.

The MNDAA is surrounding Laukkai, a hub for Chinese cyber scam centers near the China-Myanmar border, wanting to seize it from pro-military forces. 

“The military regime completely dropped the ball, [it] didn’t really understand the seriousness of the [cyber scam] issue. I’m sure some people were making money out of it as well. And that probably was part of the reason why [Naypyidaw] dragged its feet. It has created this opportunity for the MNDAA to position itself as the more responsible actor from a Chinese perspective to be running Laukkai,” said Thomas Kean, senior consultant at the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Arakan & Chin states (western Myanmar)

Fighting resumed in Arakan State, and in Paletwa, Chin State, between the AA and the military on Nov. 13. A humanitarian ceasefire broke down which was in place since November 2022. The AA has since captured 40 military outposts in Arakan State.

The alliance has seized Chinshwehaw, Monekoe, Kunlong and Namhkam townships in northern Shan State. There are on-going attempts to take Kyukoke Township of Muse District and Hsenwi Township of Lashio District, located near the China-Myanmar border.

“Are we expecting the [Brotherhood Alliance] to come down from the Shan plateau and march on Naypyidaw and Mandalay? I personally think that’s quite unlikely. And so if this offensive takes the fighting more into these lowland areas, the Burman areas, I think it’s going to be the [People’s Defense Forces] that will have to do it. Are they in a position to do that at the moment? I think that’s the big question,” added Thomas Kean from ICG. 

Kawlin and Khampat townships of Sagaing Region are now under the control of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) after it seized both with the help of the AA, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Chin forces Nov. 6-7. Kawlin is the first district-level town to come under National Unity Government (NUG) administration.

Chin & Karenni States (western and eastern Myanmar)

Rikhawdar Township of Chin State, located on the India-Myanmar border, and Mese Township of Karenni State, located on the Thai-Myanmar border, are now under the control of Chin and Karenni forces. Over 70 people have been killed in airstrikes on the Karenni State capital of Loikaw. More than 30,000 have fled the city. Around 10,000 residents remain trapped. Telecommunications services were shut down in Loikaw on Nov. 22. 

“We are stuck here because we can’t even afford the bus fare [to leave],” a Loikaw resident told DVB. The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) claimed that it controls most of Loikaw and that 204 university staff are under the care of the Karenni State Interim Executive Council waiting to be reunited with their families. The university’s rector denied rumors that he was killed in a video message released by the KNDF.

Sagaing Region (central Myanmar)

In Tigyaing Township of Sagaing Region, the PDF claimed that 20 civilians have been killed in 20 separate airstrikes since Nov. 10. “Nearly the entire town was turned to ash,” said the Tigyaing PDF spokesperson. The NUG stated that 17 civilians, including three children, were killed by airstrikes from Nov 12-14. Thousands of Tigyaing residents have been forced to flee and are in need of food, water and shelter since fighting broke out on Nov. 8.

The NUG has stated that over 14,000 members of pro-military forces have defected from February 2021 to September 2023. NUG spokesperson Kyaw Zaw told DVB that nearly 20,000 soldiers have now surrendered to resistance forces since the 2021 military coup. DVB data states that a total of 335 soldiers, police and pro-military militia members have surrendered since the start of Operation 1027.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) states that the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) now exceeds two million across the country. Over the last month of fighting, the number of new IDPs has reached 335,000. Over 200 people have been killed, including women and children, and 263 have been injured, added the U.N.

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