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Burma coup resistance notes July 15, 2023
Junta goes all-out vs. Kachin, Chin, Karenni but gets bogged down & suffers heavy casualties; Karen take control of key roads; Thailand junta lies about Aung San Suu Kyi
Junta troops trying to approach the free Kachin capital of Laiza are bogged down at Namsanyang, where some of them appear to have become trapped. The junta is air dropping supplies. (People's Spring 7/11) About 100 troops in 4 trucks attempted to reinforce Namsanyang from Bhamo on July 11, but the Kachin detonated roadside bombs, sending one of the trucks crashing into a ravine. About 40 of the reinforcement troops were killed and 50 wounded by Kachin ambushes on July 13, and a lot of food and weapons were captured. (Khit Thit Media 7/11, 7/14) The battle continues to rage, with Kachin forces holding out and ambushing junta convoys.
While the Kachin army is under heavy attack east and south of Myitkyina, another Kachin brigade raided and destroyed 3 camps belonging to a small pro-junta ethnic militia in Shaduzup Township on July 8, seizing some weapons and ammunition. (People's Spring 7/8) Then the next day, July 9, still other Kachin forces killed 3 junta troops and wounded 4 guarding a communications tower in the south of Kutkai township (northern Shan State on Burmese maps). Then 13 vehicles with reinforcements came from Lashio, and were attacked by roadside bombs that killed 5 more troops. (The Irrawaddy 7/10)
The Karen army and allied PDFs are now in control of two stretches of the national highway leading into southeast Burma. In addition to southern Mon State, the Karen are now also patrolling and inspecting traffic the highway in part of Kawthoolei Doo Tha Htoo District between Bilin and Thaton. (Karen Information Center 7/8) Last week they destroyed a bridge outside of Bilin town, and every time the junta sends crews to repair the bridge, the Karen drop drone bombs on them, so the work is halted. (People's Spring 7/9) This growing road control prevents the junta sending troops and supplies into that part of the country by road.
On another key road, the Asia Highway connecting Burma to Thailand, junta troops in Myawaddy have been attempting to dislodge Karen forces west of town, without success. The Karen and their subsidiary battalions the Cobra Column, Black Tigers, and Federal Wings, have killed 5 troops and wounded others this week. (People's Spring 7/9) Then on July 10 they stormed and occupied a pro-junta BGF camp southwest of Myawaddy town at Letkatdaung. (Myanmar Now 7/11)
The Karen army destroyed a bridge in Phyu Township of Bago Region on July 10, and attempted to blow another bridge on the main road between Thaton and Pa-an towns on July 10, but the charge was insufficient to collapse the bridge. (U U Hpa-an Thar 7/10) Karen army and allied PDF snipers killed 10 junta troops at a checkpoint at another Sittaung River bridge in Phyu Township of Bago Region July 8-10. (Khit Thit Media 7/10) Phyu lies outside of Kawthoolei, west of Kler Lwi Htoo District.
Junta forces decided to go after the particularly active resistance movement in Launglone Township of Beit-Tavoy District on July 14, attacking villages in the style of the terrorist assaults in Sagaing and Magway Regions. The troops were met near Tavoy town (Dawei) by PDFs, and an intense battle has ensued. Tavoy residents can hear mortar and gunfire. At least one civilian, a teenage girl, has been killed by indiscriminate junta mortar fire. (Khit Thit Media 7/14)
Karen forces and local PDFs intercepted an 8-vehicle convoy on July 12 at Muppalin in Doo Tha Htoo District. At least one 40mm grenade exploded inside a vehicle, killing 15 troops and wounding others. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/13)
In Notakaw town (Kyainseikji) of Dooplaya District, Karen forces bombed an electrical substation that served junta military and admin positions there on July 7, destroying the transformers and control box. The Karen used drones and land bombs. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/9) Then on July 10 a column of junta troops tried to invade from Notakaw toward Kyaikdon and was attacked repeatedly by Karen forces until the next day; the column had to stop and overnight in a school. (Karen Information Center 7/11)
The Kawthoolei government (KNU) reported battle statistics for the first half of 2023 for the Karen army and its PDF allies: 2,495 major and minor clashes were fought, 2,632 junta troops were killed including 18 officers, 1,685 were wounded, 99 vehicles were damaged; 76 Karen and allied soldiers were killed and 257 were wounded. Terrorist bombing has dislocated 600,000 civilians who are now living as refugees. The KNU has provided assistance to about half of these, but more contributions are sought, especially for rainy season needs like tarps, rain coats, and malaria medicine.
In the far north of Kawthoolei, Karen army Brigade 2 attacked a junta position near the Shan State border at Yado on July 11. Significantly, it had the collaboration of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, which sent soldiers from inside Karenni State nearby. (The Irrawaddy 7/11) Karen forces have also been fighting alongside the Karenni in southern Karenni State.
Video footage (below) shows the Falcon Wings drone force decimating a junta camp somewhere in Karenni State recently. Falcon Wings uses the strategy of small spotter drones to direct large bomber drones. The video shows the drones accurately hitting targets within the camp, then watching where the terrified troops run and bombing those places. At one point the weapons arsenal is hit and explodes, sending several burning troops running randomly. (People's Spring 7/10) Such relentless stealth bombing, leaving the enemy with nowhere to hide, has been one reason for mounting desertions and surrenders.
A Karenni KNDF commander said that the junta had sent 1,000 troops recently into Karenniland to try to reverse the territorial losses it suffered in late June, and that the KNDF is preparing a counter-invasion of the junta capital Naypyitaw, which lies to the west of Karenni State. (People's Spring 7/9)
Still trying to fight its way back into Mese Township in far southeastern Karenni State, the junta is bombing villages in neighboring Bawlakhe and Hpasaung Townships. On July 10 Karenni forces intercepted 3 crates of weapons air-dropped by the junta intended for its isolated troops at two camps in Mese Township. The crates contained mostly 40mm grenades. (Mizzima 7/11)
Further north, the junta is trying to break a supply blockade of its camps along the Thai border by bombing the crap out of the area with jets. Villages are bearing the brunt. Karenni forces have cut off the enemy border camps to starve them out. (Kantarawaddy Times) That strategy forced the junta to abandon 2 camps in Shadaw Township recently.
A junta convoy of 15 vehicles went to Loikaw from Mobye on July 11 and was intercepted by Karenni defense forces with roadside bombs and gunfire. Only 7 of the vehicles could enter Loikaw, the rest had to withdraw. (People's Spring 7/11)
Likewise in Chin State, junta troops are trying to fight their way back into Htantalan from the capital Hakha, which they control. Nearly 400 troops have been pushing up that road against Chin resistance, and this past week at least 20 of them were killed and 35 sent to hospital with injuries. Chin forces have captured some of their weapons. Chin forces also mounted an attack on junta troops in Matupi Township, but results are not published. (People's Spring 7/9)
Chin defense forces stormed a junta camp at the intersection of the roads to Hteetaing, Kalay, and Palam in Hteetaing Township on July 11. The battle lasted 6.5 hours and resulted in 15 junta troops killed and the camp and some weapons captured by the Chin, while 4 Chin soldiers were also killed and 2 wounded. The junta fired long-range mortars from Kalay and jets dropped bombs. (People’s Spring, Mizzima 7/11, Khit Thit Media 7/13)
The Ta’ang ethnic army (TNLA) is back in action, fighting for the past 2 days in Muse Township of northern Shan State. (People's Spring 7/11) The TNLA was one of the 3 Northern Alliance members that signed a recent letter vowing to protect Chinese investments. The TNLA and the Kokang army, another signatory, have nonetheless battled the junta since signing the letter under pressure from Beijing.
There is a growing black market in Kawthoolei for junta weapons and ammunition that are pirated and sold by junta troops themselves. The main customers are Revolution forces such as the Karen army, who buy them through intermediary brokers. Like extorting money from the public, selling weapons is a coping strategy when junta troops don’t receive regular salaries or food rations. Sources say senior officers are aware of the sales, but don’t try to stop them for fear that soldiers will desert the army. The sources say junta weapons and ammunition have become cheaper than those from other sources. (Karen Information Center 7/10)
Nine junta front line troops, including a battalion commander, refused orders to fight in Kachin State and were arrested recently. The date wasn’t specified, but the report came from a watermelon (inside) source, who explained that the battlefield death toll is too high, and officers were ordering troops into mine fields. High death rates are leading a growing number of junta troops to desert, defect, and refuse orders. (Khit Thit Media 7/8)
Junta jets destroyed another school on July 12. The school of 200 students is in a refugee camp in Mese Township of Karenni State, on the border with Thailand. Because the school had been evacuated, there was only one casualty from the bombing. (Mizzima 7/13) Attacking schools is an international war crime, and a routine practice of the Naypyitaw terrorist regime.
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
PDFs ambushed a junta village terrorist column in Kwetkwin village of Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region in the early hours of July 14. Witnesses tell of 30 junta troops killed or wounded. The PDFs had come from Shwebo and from Kyaukse and Myinchan in Mandalay Region to counter-attack this junta column, which had recently burned 4 villages. (Khit Thit Media 7/14)
PDFs in Pauk Township of Magway Region staged a pre-dawn raid on 2 pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee terrorist village camps on July 11, firing for 2 hours and then storming and torching the camps. About 30 junta troops and 60 Pyu Saw Htees were there, along with some logistics troops from a junta weapons factories that the PDFs thought had left; 10 were killed. The PDFs freed 9 civilians that the junta had kidnapped on suspicion of pro-democracy sympathies. A helicopter came and attacked the sites, but the PDFs knew ahead of time and withdrew safely. A third terrorist village camp was also destroyed recently. (The Irrawaddy 7/11)
PDFs received a watermelon tip-off that a senior junta officer would travel in a convoy on the Yangon-Naypyitaw expressway on July 7. They ambushed the 7-vehicle convoy in Taungoo Township of Bago Region, destroying 2 cars and inflicting a number of casualties as yet unknown; ambulances arrived to evacuate them. No word yet on whether the senior officer was among them. (The Irrawaddy 7/8)
PDFs on riverbanks are stepping up their attacks on junta shipping. On July 7 they shot up boats descending the Chindwin River, killing 6 junta troops on board and wounding others. The boats are known to carry supplies, troop reinforcements, and civilian goods looted from villages upriver. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/8)
Political and economic-------------------
News is emerging of massacres of political prisoners by the junta. Guards remove groups of pro-democracy prisoners on the pretext of transferring them to other prisons, then murder them, saying later that they tried to escape. Twelve were killed from a prison in Bago Region on May 27 including a prominent student union leader, and twelve more from Monywa prison were removed and shot dead. Thirty-seven prisoners from Kyaiksakaw prison were taken out and 8 were shot dead, with 8 others missing; 17 of them arrived at Insein prison after brutal beatings. (Khit Thit Media 7/11, Myaelatt Athan 7/8, Mizzima 7/10)
Five entertainment celebrities were released by the junta on July 7. They had been kidnapped to prison, accused of “incitement”, after expressing condolences on social media for the 180 civilians massacred in a junta air strike in Pasiji village in Sagaing Region in April. (The Irrawaddy 7/8)
Lame duck Thai foreign minister Dom Pramudwinai has engaged in a fraud in collusion with the illegal Naypyitaw regime. On July 9 he visited the terrorist leaders in Naypyitaw, and claims that he met with Daw Aung Suu Kyi in prison where she is kept in solitary confinement. He then claimed that he had her approval to start talks between the terrorists and Revolutionary forces such as the National Unity Government. She has never before endorsed any sort of legitimization of the illegal regime, and NUG leaders quickly denied the existence of any such endorsement, noting that Aung San Suu Kyi is kept incommunicado and is thus unable to represent her own views. (Tanintharyi Times 7/14) Dom Pramudwinai is part of a military government that lost the May election in a landslide and has no current legitimacy.
Meanwhile, the Thai Senate, dominated by the military, exercised its veto power to nullify the results of the May election, in which the Move Forward Party candidate Pita Limjaroenrat won decisively. Pita has vowed to ally Thailand with Burma’s popular forces against the illegal junta, contrary to the outgoing military-backed government. That could potentially speed up the resolution of the civil war considerably. The military-drafted constitution allows the Senate to block election results, but the flaunting of popular will sets Thailand up for another potential uprising. (DVB 7/14)
Singapore closed the bank accounts of two Burma airlines owned by junta cronies, Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and KBZ. The closure blocks a channel the airlines used to make international payments, including those for purchase of aviation fuel, some of which goes to the junta air force to bomb civilians. Bank accounts in Thailand, Singapore, and United Aram Emirates of the airlines might also get closed. (People's Spring 7/10)
ASEAN’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, Ngura Swajaya, met informally with representatives of Revolutionary youth organizations on July 3 and listened to their concerns regarding the country’s political situation. They urged that ASEAN not consider the illegal regime as a negotiating party, but rather as a terrorist group that commits war crimes. The youth representatives expressed satisfaction after the meeting. (Mizzima 7/11) ASEAN has mostly been regarded as a toothless talking shop hobbled from meaningful action by member countries that are military or one-party autocracies themselves, so the meeting with pro-democracy Burma activists can be seen as progress. Meanwhile, an ASEAN summit began in Jakarta on July 11, with a junta representative barred from attending. An American diplomat attended as an observer. (Mizzima 7/11)
While Revolution forces are achieving success on the battlefield in the various regions, they all need donations to sustain the supplies of ammunition, weapons, food, and other necessities as they face the well-supplied junta. The international community has mobilized billions of dollars to defend Ukraine, but it has left the people of Myanmar on their own, with only private donations to support them.