The junta launched a total of more than 30 airstrikes against the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State over the past week in an ongoing offensive against the ethnic armed organisation in Namhsan Township, a representative for the group said.
Since the military advance began on December 7, the TNLA has been resisting the ground and air attacks on their base in Kone Thar village, 10 miles north of Namhsan town.
In addition to some 100 reinforcement troops airlifted to the area by helicopter, TNLA spokesperson Lt-Col Tar Aik Kyaw said that the junta had been dropping highly explosive 500-pound aerial bombs around the battlesite—as well as on civilian areas—and firing 120mm and 105mm artillery shells from bases in Manton and Momeik (Mong Mit) townships, 30 miles north.
“The 500-pound bombs were dropped on five locations on the night of December 11,” he told Myanmar Now. “Two of them were dropped on the area of fighting, and the remaining three were dropped near Ye Pone village in Momeik Township where there was no fighting.”
While there have been local reports that the TNLA shot down a junta helicopter, Tar Aik Kyaw could not confirm them.
“We returned fire using the small arms we had, but I don’t know if they hit the targets,” he explained.
More than 1,000 locals displaced from five villages in the area were forced to take refuge in a monastery in Namhsan, according to a local social welfare group.
As of Monday morning, active fighting had paused but the TNLA reported that military aircraft were still seen surveilling the area and that tension remained high.
Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the TNLA’s account of the recent fighting in Namhsan, nor has the military council released any information on its activities in the region.
Clashes with the TNLA have been sporadic since the February 2021 coup. The junta’s forces have also engaged in intense battles with the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in northern Shan State during this period.