Embattled Myanmar junta evacuates surrendered troops via Thailand

The losses in Myanmar’s Kayin state are the latest among a string of defeats that have forced the military regime to cede control.

Thailand granted permission to the Myanmar junta on April 7 to run a special flight evacuating its personnel after hundreds of troops near the strategic Myanmar border trading hub of Myawaddy surrendered to resistance forces.

The losses in Myanmar’s Kayin state are the latest in a string of defeats since October 2023 that forced the military regime – which seized power through a 2021 coup – to cede control in key border areas such as Rakhine state and Shan state.

The Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic armed organisation that operates by the Thai border, said in a Facebook post on April 6 that more than 600 of the junta’s military officers and their family members in a large base surrendered after it was overrun by KNU and allied fighters.

The Thai government confirmed on April 8 that it had received a request from the Myanmar junta-run foreign ministry to approve three special flights from April 7 to 9 between Yangon and Mae Sot – the Thai town next to Myawaddy – to “transport passengers and cargo”. It did not specify the type of passengers and cargo to be conveyed.

“Upon considering the urgency of the situation and the possibility of an evacuation of Myanmar personnel and their families to safe areas, a decision was made at the government level to approve the request from Myanmar on humanitarian grounds,” Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Myanmar military authorities have since cancelled the request to run the remaining flights on April 8 and 9.

In response to online allegations that Bangkok was siding with the junta in Myanmar’s three-year-old crisis, Thailand’s foreign ministry said: “In the past, the Thai side has provided assistance to all parties in Myanmar based on humanitarian principles without discrimination.

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