Myanmar military loses border town in another big defeat

The military regime which seized power in Myanmar three years ago has suffered another big defeat, this time on the eastern border with Thailand.

Troops had suffered weeks of attacks by ethnic Karen insurgents, allied with other anti-coup forces.

Hundreds of troops guarding the vital border town of Myawaddy have now agreed to surrender.

Most of Myanmar’s overland trade with Thailand passes through Myawaddy.

On Friday, the Karen National Union announced that it had accepted the surrender of a battalion based in the town of Thanganyinaung, about 10km (6.2 miles) west of Myawaddy.

It posted a video of its jubilant fighters showing off a substantial arsenal of weapons they had captured.

Over the weekend, the Karen forces have been negotiating with the last remaining battalion inside Myawaddy, which has apparently agreed to surrender.

This is a serious setback for the military junta, which in recent months has also been driven out of large areas along the Chinese border in Shan State, and in Rakhine State near the border with Bangladesh.

Thousands of soldiers have already either been killed, or have surrendered or defected to the opposition, forcing the military to impose conscription on the population to try to make up the losses.

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