Myanmar Spring Chronicle – December 22 Developments

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – December 22 Developments

**Fierce Clashes in Northern Shan State: Manton, Laukkaing Under Strain**

Recent reports detail intense fighting in Manton and Namtu, home to the Palaung people in northern Shan State. Residents are fleeing as heavy airstrikes by the military council escalate the conflict. Laukkaing, the capital of the Kokang region, has also been embroiled in battles for the past four days.

Over the past two months, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has made significant territorial gains, capturing military council base camps and cities, including Namhkam and Namhsan. The recent capture of Namhsan, the Palaung Autonomous Region capital, has spurred TNLA to press further, targeting Manton and Namtu. The 105-mile trade zone, a vital border trade route, witnessed a TNLA and AA attack on the military council station.

TNLA’s operations have extended to Mogok and Nawnghkio regions in southwestern Shan State. The complex ethnic composition of northern Shan State, where Kachin, Shan, and other groups coexist, may lead to differing perspectives on the armed conflict, given historical territorial designations.

**Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding in Rakhine State**

Since early November, Rakhine State has witnessed a resurgence of conflict, compounded by a stringent military council blockade on the entry and exit of goods and people. The blockade, affecting the entire state, has inflicted severe hardships on millions of residents. Prices of essential goods, including fuel, medicine, and food, have surged exponentially over the past month.

Imported goods from mainland regions such as Yangon, Mandalay, and Ayeyarwaddy have become exorbitantly priced, with basic food items doubling in cost. The people of Rakhine State are grappling with the dual challenges of disrupted daily activities due to the war and blockade, coupled with soaring prices.

The blockade imposed on an entire state for military purposes is tantamount to a crime against humanity. The military council’s actions, treating civilians and the Arakan Army AA indiscriminately, represent one of the gravest war crimes in history. The people of Rakhine State are enduring a dire situation, caught between the devastating impacts of conflict and the economic ramifications of the blockade.