Artillery vehicle

Myanmar junta’s relentless artillery attacks force resistance groups to retreat


Smoke seen in Dawh Ngan Khar Ward on March 13 after junta forces fired rockets from a multiple rocket launcher system. /KNDF

By The Irrawaddy March 15, 2022

Burmese junta forces have retook sections of the Moe Bye-Demoso road in Kayah state, following continued artillery and airstrikes that forced the local People’s Defense Forces (PDF) to beat retired.

On Sunday, resistance fighters had to withdraw from Dawh Ngan Khar neighborhood, which is within walking distance of Demoso town, as regime forces have superior weaponry, including rocket launcher system multiples (MRLS), a spokesperson for Demoso PDF told The Irrawaddy.

Since February, the PDF have been forced to withdraw from Moe Bye, Nam Mae Khon and other towns along the Kayah-Shan border following junta attacks.

“Frankly, we’re almost out of ammunition. So we had to pull back a bit. They drop bombs from airplanes day and night and fire rockets. If we maintain our positions, houses and religious buildings will be hit by artillery. And we will be affected too. So we pulled out,” the Demoso PDF spokesperson said.

Three junta columns, each comprising 200 soldiers equipped with armored vehicles and 120mm and 80mm grenade launchers and supported by airstrikes and artillery, began attacking Moe Bye on the border of Kayah and Shan states. on February 16, before storming Kayah State via the Moe Route Bye-Demoso.

The Myanmar Army would employ the MRLS in Demoso fighting.

Buildings damaged by an artillery strike in Demoso. (Photo: CJ)

However, the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force and local PDFs put up fierce resistance. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties since last month, with nearly 100 junta troops and more than 30 resistance fighters killed in clashes.

“The regime attacked us with fighter jets and helicopters. And now they also use MRLS. They attack us as if we were foreign enemies. It’s civil war. But they are attacking as if it were a war between two countries,” the Pekon PDF spokesperson told The Irrawaddy.

Military regime forces are targeting Kayah State, where the PDF have strengthened themselves and control much of the state’s territory, as they believe subjugating Kayah will discourage the resistance movement in other parts of the state. country, suggested the Pekon PDF spokesperson.

Buildings damaged by an artillery strike in Demoso. (Photo: CJ)

The intensification of the military operation follows a visit to Kayah by Deputy Junta Leader General Soe Win and Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Soe Htut. They visited the capital Kayah Loikaw and the town of Bawlakhe in the first week of February.

Striking military captain Lin Htet Aung said, “The use of MRLS can cause serious harm. The army provides heavy artillery support to its ground troops. They use these weapons to inflict severe damage on those who resist them and those who help the resistance groups.

Demoso PDF’s chief information officer said, “We will make some preparations, after which we will take over these places under the regime.”

More than 150,000 civilians have been displaced by the fighting in Kayah, and hundreds of homes and other buildings, including churches, have been destroyed or damaged by junta artillery strikes.

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