Approximately 1,300 individuals from Myanmar fled to Thailand following violent clashes in a major border town

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Around 1,300 people are said to have fled from eastern Myanmar into Thailand, according to Thai officials, when new combat broke out in a border town that was recently taken over by ethnic guerillas.

Officials said on Saturday that about 1,300 people had fled into Thailand from eastern Myanmar as new fighting broke out in a border town that had just been taken over by ethnic guerillas.

The final outposts of the Myanmar army in and around Myawaddy, which is connected to Thailand by two bridges over the Moei River, were taken over by fighters from the Karen ethnic group last week.

According to police commander Pittayakorn Phetcharat in Thailand’s Mae Sot district, the most recent fighting started in the morning when the Karen guerillas attacked troops from Myanmar who were hiding close to the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, a crucial crossing point for trade with Thailand. He calculated that 1,300 people may have escaped to Thailand.

Thai officials said that following fighting in many Myawaddy regions on Friday, people had begun to cross.

Myawaddy’s collapse represents a serious blow to the military, which overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian administration in 2021. Since last October, Myanmar’s once-dominant armed forces have suffered a string of unprecedented setbacks, losing large swathes of territory, including border posts, to both pro-democracy guerrilla units that took up arms following the military takeover and ethnic fighters who have been fighting for greater autonomy for decades.

By Saturday lunchtime, the fighting had lessened from the morning’s intensity even though the Karen forces’ drone assaults and the Myanmar military’s airstrikes were still occurring, according to Mae Sot police commander Pittayakorn Phetcharat. He said that those escaping would be moved into a safer region by Thai officials.

Recorded from the Thai border, the sound of gunfire and explosives could be heard as Thai soldiers stood watch next to the bridge. Families with children crossed the river carrying their possessions, while Thai officials met them at the river’s edge. On the Myanmar side, several are observed seeking refuge in buildings near the riverbank.

Srettha Thavisin, the prime minister of Thailand, stated on the social media site X on Saturday that he was keeping a careful eye on the border situation.

“It is not my intention for these conflicts to compromise Thailand’s territorial integrity, and we stand prepared to defend both our borders and the security of our citizens.” In addition, should it become necessary, we stand prepared to offer humanitarian aid,” he stated.

Thailand sent its first shipment of humanitarian aid to Myanmar in March, helping to support over 20,000 internally displaced persons.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nikorndej Balangura, informed reporters on Friday that Thailand is now attempting to increase the scope of its aid program.