Junta forces cling to Yaw region town as guerrilla attacks continue in rural areas

Battles between the Myanmar army and resistance forces continued over the weekend in Magway Region’s Htilin Township, resulting in several junta casualties, according to the guerrilla group involved. 

The area is part of the Yaw region, which includes Htilin, Gangaw and Saw townships. Three battalions of the region’s Yaw Defence Force (YDF) attacked a column of more than 200 soldiers near Htalin village, four miles outside of Htilin’s administrative centre, on Saturday morning in the most recent strike against the junta forces occupying the area.

More than 700 locals west of the town have fled their homes over the last two weeks due to assaults launched by some 350 soldiers around Htilin, according to the YDF. 

YDF spokesperson Min Min claimed that at least 15 troops were killed in Saturday’s ambush, stunned by an initial assault with explosives. 

“They suffered major casualties. They didn’t even get to fire back at us,” he said, adding that a YDF member was injured when a military unit stationed inside Htilin town fired heavy artillery in the direction of the clash. 

The episode of fighting reportedly lasted nearly one hour, with the military withdrawing to the town, which remains under Myanmar army control as resistance forces continue to be active in rural areas of the Yaw region, an anti-junta stronghold. 

“They brought the dead soldiers and their guns back into the town of Htilin in their trucks. Each of the surviving soldiers was carrying three to four guns,” Min Min said. 

Another 15-minute battle took place the next day near the village of Htan Pin Kone, with junta artillery detonating behind a school in neighbouring Ponna village. At the time of reporting, the YDF had yet to receive a frontline report from their members revealing further details of the clash. 

The resistance force’s Htilin chapter released a statement on the ongoing displacement in the township, saying that residents of Wet Thet, Hin Khwat Kone and Hin Pan villages had fled. Of the hundreds in hiding, 170 were particularly vulnerable children and elderly people.

Battles came to a halt on Monday, but military guards had been deployed across Htilin town and tension remained high, the YDF said. 

The junta has not released any information on the battles in the Yaw region. 

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