Myanmar’s army on Thursday launched several airstrikes in the western part of Pale township, Sagaing region, two days after carrying out a large-scale attack on a resistance-held village in the same area.
Residents told Myanmar Now that the latest assault, which began at 9 a.m. and continued into the afternoon, was centered on the villages of Nwe Inn and Aing Ma, both near the dam of Hpalanpin.
“I lost count of how many planes they used as they were flying in and out of the area all morning,” said a local resident who did not want to be identified.
He added that the helicopters were used both to carry out attacks and to transport troops.
Tuesday, the army raided the village of Hpalanpin, where resistance forces held 26 prisoners, including junta soldiers and police and their families.
About 80 soldiers were involved in the attack, which also targeted the nearby village of Thae Pyin Kyel, according to Pale Township People’s Administration Anti-Regime Team Leader Zaw Htet.
The latest assault was likely carried out to allow junta forces involved in Tuesday’s offensive to withdraw from the area, Zaw Htet told Myanmar Now on Thursday.
“We’ve already had three clashes today, and there are reports that a fighter jet is on the way. It seems they are trying to help the troops who attacked our office to get out,” he said. “That’s why we’re fighting them with everything we have right now.”
He added that the junta was also sending reinforcements to the area, as airstrikes have so far failed to extract soldiers already on the ground.
He explained that the local terrain made it difficult for regime forces to flee.
“Pale township has both hills and valleys, but the recent battles have been in hilly areas. That’s why we were able to block them from all directions as they try to leave the villages in which they are now,” he said.
A member of a local defense team confirmed that Thursday’s airstrikes were aimed at clearing the way for soldiers to leave the area.
“The places they hit today were a few kilometers from Hpalanpin, which means they are trying to open a path for the column that attacked Hpalanpin to get out coming in that direction,” he said. -he says.
According to the Pale Township People’s Administration team, two resistance fighters were injured in Thursday’s airstrikes.
Hundreds of villagers have also been displaced by the attacks, the group said.