Myanmar Army Battalion Surrenders To Ethnic Rebels

A battalion of the Myanmar army surrendered in the northeastern Shan state near the Chinese border after an alliance of armed ethnic groups launched a surprise offensive against the military last month, the Associated Press reported.

A spokesman for one of the groups said 261 people surrendered on November 12, including 127 Myanmar soldiers from the infantry battalion and 134 family members, marking the largest surrender of Myanmar forces since the conflict in the country erupted in 2021 following the military overthrow of the Aung San Suu Kyi government.

The alliance of ethnic groups expects to capture the city of Laukkaing soon, the spokesman said.

The surrender has not been confirmed by the Myanmar military government, nor could it be independently verified by the Associated Press.

The ethnic groups, known as the Three Brotherhood Alliance, launched an offensive in Shan on October 27.

The Three Brotherhood Alliance is made up of three ethnic armies, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

The group has claimed widespread victories in the border region near China. On November 2, the military government confirmed that it had lost control of three towns in the region, including one that is a major crossing for trade with China.

On November 13, the Arakan Army launched a series of surprise attacks on military targets in five towns in the western Rakhine state of Myanmar, bringing an end to a yearlong ceasefire between the Arakan Army and the military government in the region.

In a situation report on November 15, the United Nations Humanitarian Office said that fighting has also spread to the northwest and southeast of Myanmar, in addition to the attacks in western Rakhine state.

According to the report, there has been active fighting in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern Kayah state. As resistance forces have tried to seize Loikaw, the city has been bombed by the Myanmar military, leading to civilian casualties.