Myanmar

Crisis Group is monitoring the upsurge in violence in the country triggered by the military's 1 February 2021 coup d'état which deposed the Aung San Suu Kyi administration. The regime has brutally cracked down on protesters, killing hundreds and detaining thousands. Public sector strikes and other forms of civil disobedience have prevented the regime from consolidating its control, and plunged the country into deep economic crisis. Some of the country’s ethnic armed groups have gone on the offensive, and new forms of armed resistance by civilian militias and underground networks have emerged. Although Rakhine State has so far avoided some of the worst of the violence, the plight of the Rohingya remains unaddressed and the prospects for a return of almost one million languishing in camps in Bangladesh looks bleak. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to understand the new violent dynamics unleashed by the coup and mitigate the impact on the people of the country.

CrisisWatch Myanmar

Unchanged Situation

Arakan Army (AA) expanded control in west, fuelling displacement, while ethnic armed groups and regime continued hostilities in north and south west. 

In west, AA continued to make battlefield progress. AA rebels 6 June escalated attacks against last regime positions in northern Rakhine state, claiming capture of key military base in Maungdaw township; AA 16 June ordered residents to leave Maungdaw town after it claimed seizure of nearly all military posts in township. Local media 23 June reported that AA had seized key regime base in Ann township vital for defence of its Western Regional Command headquarters. Further south, local sources 24 June reported AA captured Thandwe Airport and Ngapali beach resort along with 132 regime soldiers, 47 policemen and their families. Meanwhile, regime forces 11 June ordered residents to leave as they attempted to secure outskirts of Rakhine capital, Sittwe; UN Human Rights chief 18 June called military response “indiscriminate”, said displaced Rohingya communities had “nowhere to flee”. UN Food Program 25 June denounced burning and looting of its food warehouses in Rakhine.

In north, Kachin Independence Army (KIA) clashed with regime. KIA and regime forces 4 June renewed fighting near Momeik town in northern Shan state forcing 300 people to flee; KIA continued its push through eastern parts of Kachin State, seizing Sadon town on 11 June. While southern Kachin State increasingly comes under KIA control, it is facing more pushback across border in northern Shan State from other ethnic armed groups. 

In south east, Karen forces braced for tough fight. Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) prepared to defend Thingan Nyi Naung village from regime convoy attempting to cross Dawna Mountain range. KNLA has signalled its determination to keep control of strategic village despite its loss of nearby border trade town of Myawaddy. Meanwhile, regime-aligned Kayin National Army (formerly, Kayin State Border Guard Force) is in firm control of Myawaddy.

In other important developments. Regime forces 17 June arrested 13 members of Yangon-based underground group for allegedly planning to attack regime leader, Min Aung Hlaing, during 8 June ceremony for new bridge. Around 1,400 retired personnel under Reserve Forces Law, 1 June began reporting for duty.

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In The News

31 Maj 2024
Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups are securing on the battlefield the autonomous homelands they have long sought. Al Jazeera

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
27 kwi 2024
Myanmar isn't a well-functioning, centralized state that has suddenly fallen into atomization… It's always been fragmented to some extent or another. Deutsche Welle

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
16 lut 2024
The [Myanmar] military is clearly facing significant manpower shortages, which is why it is introducing a draft for the first time in its history. Reuters

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
30 sty 2024
The military [in Myanmar] might not have the ability to vanquish its opponents, but it retains an enormous capacity for violence, especially against civilian targets. VOA

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
13 gru 2023
When the Myanmar military feels under pressure, its normal response is to ramp up the level of violence. The Wall Street Journal

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
14 lis 2023
Myanmar needs Russia because it doesn't want to be isolated ... and they also need an alternative to China in the region. Newsweek

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia

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Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
Richard Horsey

Thomas Kean

Senior Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh
Thomas Kean

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