The Burmese army has continued operations to secure Karen State stretches of the Asian Highway, with the aid of local paramilitaries.
Fighting has continued for close to a week, as rebels from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army [DKBA] refuse to give up lucrative illegal toll gates on the new highway.
Troops from the Karen Border Guard Force [BGF] have moved along the route, forcing DKBA rebels from their positions.
Intermittent skirmishes mean the UN-backed Asian Highway remains closed, ahead of a ceremonial opening that had been planned for later this month.
BGF Major Naing Maung Zaw warned DKBA rebels to cease hostilities.
“We are providing security at the rear of Burmese army columns as they sweep the area in a bid to reopen Asian Highway One,” the solider began.
“There have been some clashes ahead as [DKBA] forces carried out ambushes on Burmese army units.”
Karen State’s old mountain highway route has been reopened to connect the Thai border town of Myawaddy to Kawkareit, where most of this week’s battles have been fought.
Many locals are too afraid to travel the road however, as rebel and Tatmadaw soldiers fight through the hills.