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Arakan Army Seizes Thandwe Airport, Escalating Myanmar Conflict

In southern Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the Arakan Army, an influential ethnic minority group, has achieved a significant milestone by seizing Thandwe Airport, a crucial gateway to Ngapali Beach, a popular tourist destination. This marks a pivotal moment in their resistance against Myanmar’s military government since the coup in 2021. The Arakan Army, representing the Buddhist […]

In southern Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the Arakan Army, an influential ethnic minority group, has achieved a significant milestone by seizing Thandwe Airport, a crucial gateway to Ngapali Beach, a popular tourist destination. This marks a pivotal moment in their resistance against Myanmar’s military government since the coup in 2021.

The Arakan Army, representing the Buddhist Rakhine community, is striving for greater autonomy from Myanmar’s central authority. They have allied with pro-democracy activists and other ethnic minority factions across the country, challenging the military junta’s harsh crackdowns on dissent, which have drawn global condemnation.

The capture of Thandwe Airport, among six in Rakhine state, enhances the Arakan Army’s strategic foothold in both coastal and northern regions, including neighboring Chin state. This comes amid ongoing efforts to assert control over areas historically marginalized by Myanmar’s central government.

Ngapali Beach, once bustling with international tourists, has suffered from setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent conflicts. The closure of Thandwe Airport earlier this year due to nearby hostilities has further stymied tourism, leading to the closure of numerous hotels and guesthouses in the vicinity.

Critics of Myanmar’s military regime, primarily Western nations, have imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions in an effort to pressure the junta into respecting human rights and restoring democratic governance. However, these efforts face challenges as Myanmar continues to receive support from key allies such as China and Russia, undermining the effectiveness of international sanctions.

Amnesty International has reported ongoing shipments of aviation fuel to Myanmar, despite calls for sanctions aimed at limiting the military’s use of air power, which often results in civilian casualties. The report underscores the complex supply networks used to evade detection and sustain fuel imports despite international scrutiny.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has urged governments to refrain from supplying jet fuel to Myanmar, citing concerns over its potential use in human rights abuses amid escalating violence against civilians. This follows reports of increased military aggression and setbacks for the junta against resistance groups, as observed by UN human rights experts.

The Arakan Army’s capture of Thandwe Airport signifies a significant advance in Myanmar’s ongoing conflict. It highlights international efforts to curb military actions through sanctions, though the geopolitical complexities involving Myanmar’s allies continue to shape the effectiveness of these measures.

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Arakan ArmyMyanmar conflictTDGThe Daily Guardian