The Brotherhood Alliance announced on Monday that they had assaulted junta targets in Sagaing Region as part of the broader Operation 1027, while resistance groups in Mandalay Region said they coordinated attacks with the operation’s launch last week.
The Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed group and a member group of the Brotherhood Alliance, led anti-junta forces in battle in the Maw Kun Hills in Sagaing Region’s Tigyaing Township, a resistance fighter based in Tigyaing said on Monday.
The clashes broke out on Thursday near Tei Taw village, located one and a half miles north of the Tigyaing, and near Mi Chaung Aik village, some four miles west of town.
The military had deployed aerial attacks every day since fighting began four days earlier, according to the resistance member.
“The battles have been fierce and there are airstrikes every day. They’re using both fighter planes and Mi-35 helicopters. They were shooting from an Mi-35 for an hour today,” he said.
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a Kokang group, make up the other two members of the Brotherhood Alliance.
On October 27, the alliance launched Operation 1027, a coordinated offensive targeting military bases and outposts across northern Shan State, with which Tigyaing Township shares a border.
On Monday, the fourth day of the offensive, the alliance announced for the first time that AA forces were fighting alongside other anti-junta groups in Sagaing Region, including the Kachin Independence Army and the People’s Defence Forces (PDF).
“The AA is leading the fights in Maw Kun Hills and local defence groups are also fighting alongside us. We’d been allies for a while now, but it was only officially announced recently,” the Tigyaing-based resistance member said.
The AA agreed to an informal ceasefire with the military last November, but the truce is only in effect within Rakhine State, where the AA bases most of its operations. The military has recently sent more reinforcements and supplies to its troops in northern Rakhine State and the neighbouring Paletwa Township, Chin State, where the AA also maintains an active presence.
On the same day Operation 1027 began in Shan State, the Myingyan PDF—which operates under the command of the publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG)—attacked a toll gate manned by army troops and police in Mandalay Region, according to PDF battalion commander Wan Moe.
In order to prevent harm to civilians, the PDF stopped vehicles en route to the toll gate before the fighting began, Wan Moe told Myanmar Now. The resistance forces deployed a drone, heavy artillery and small arms in attacking the junta outpost, located near the Myingyan No. 1 Steel Mill on the border between Myingyan and Taungtha townships, he said.
He added that the Myingyan District PDF had received instructions from the NUG’s ministry of defence to carry out military operations on the same day that battles began in northern Shan State.
“The MOD set the dates for us to fight. They asked if we understood why they had chosen these days to launch the operations, and said we might have already read the news,” he said, referring to reports about Operation 1027.
Wan Moe added that the forces manning the toll gate fought off the PDF assault for around half an hour, during which some police and soldiers were killed.
Myanmar Now could not verify the casualties independently.
During the PDF attack on the junta outpost, a convoy of nine military vehicles carrying junta reinforcements arrived from Myingyan and another four came from Taungtha, according to Wan Moe. PDF members set explosives in the path of the reinforcement convoy from Taungtha, and fired on the military vehicles with heavy weapons, but were ultimately forced to withdraw.
Control of Myingyan District is divided between pro-junta and resistance forces.
The toll gate battle is one of the fiercest to have occurred in or near Taungtha Township, a flat plain mostly under the control of army battalions and junta-trained Pyu Saw Htee militias. However, there are eight PDF battalions operating under the command of the NUG defence ministry within Myingyan District as a whole.
“We’ll fight relentlessly and persevere, and the fight will only gain momentum. We won’t give up,” said Wan Moe. “Because we’ll only win if we can fight on a national scale. We call on other organisations to do the same.”
In northern Shan State, where the Brotherhood Alliance initiated Operation 1027, the alliance claims to have captured dozens of junta outposts and has succeeded in taking over the town of Chin Shwe Haw, a commercial hub on the China-Myanmar border.