Thai citizens stranded in Myanmar amid escalating conflicts

Photo: Edward Schonsett/Flickr

Thailand is currently exerting efforts to bring back 162 Thai citizens who are presently stranded in Myanmar due to escalating conflicts between Myanmar’s junta forces and ethnic minority revolutionaries close to the Chinese border. This was confirmed by Thai officials.

These events follow the tragic assault on October 7 where a minimum of 30 Thai individuals, primarily agricultural workers, were killed in southern Israel by Hamas militants. In addition, 16 Thais sustained injuries while 17 are currently being held hostage by the Palestinian militants.

According to reports, heightened conflict broke out in the previous week within Myanmar’s northern Shan State. Here, an alliance of ethnic minority groups, fighting for their self-determination, initiated a series of collaborative attacks against junta strongholds.

The ruling military of Myanmar has admitted to losing control of numerous towns along the Chinese border, including Chinshwehaw, which shares a boundary with China’s Yunnan province.

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Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavasin instructed the Thai embassy in Myanmar to collaborate with local authorities to ensure the safe return of Thai citizens. This was announced on social media by his office, which also highlighted that these individuals, along with other nationals, were trapped due to the ongoing conflict.

“Right now, the embassy is discussing ways to help all Thais return home quickly.”

Since the military coup in February 2021, Myanmar has been in a state of disarray. This coup resulted in the overthrow of a democratically elected government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Newly established pro-democracy insurgent groups have, in some regions, joined forces with ethnic minority rebels who have been demanding increased autonomy for several decades.

Reportedly, the recent conflicts in Shan State have caused thousands of refugees to cross over into China and displaced several more internally, as per reports by Myanmar media outlets.

A three-brotherhood alliance comprising ethnic minority armies in Shan and Rakhine states has declared that it intends to protect their land and civilians from junta attacks, reported Bangkok Post.

A mass funeral was recently held to bury victims of a military strike on a camp for displaced individuals near the northern Myanmar town of Laiza on October 10. Coffins were laid beside graves in a poignant scene captured in a photograph.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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