Myanmar Spring Chronicle: Retaking of Kawlin: Lessons Learned from Military Maneuvers

Myanmar Spring Chronicle: Retaking of Kawlin: Lessons Learned from Military Maneuvers

Published by MoeMaKa on February 25, 2024

The recent recapture of Kawlin by Myanmar’s military council forces from the hands of the People’s Defense Forces under the National Unity Government (NUG) has sparked reflection on the dynamics of territorial control and military strategy in the ongoing conflict.

Kawlin, which fell under the control of the NUG-led People’s Defense Forces in November, was swiftly retaken by the military council after a massive offensive lasting over two weeks. Following the takeover, reports emerged of widespread destruction as neighborhoods and houses in Kawlin were set ablaze, signaling a deliberate tactic by the military council to deter support for city-occupation battles.

The recapture of Kawlin raises questions about the NUG’s ability to establish and maintain control in strategically significant areas. Despite initially securing the town, the NUG faced challenges in controlling surrounding regions bordering Kawlin, where military council troops and militia-backed villages remained entrenched.

The military council’s swift offensive to reclaim Kawlin underscores its strategic priorities in regaining lost territories, particularly in flat areas like Sagaing. The destruction wrought upon Kawlin serves as a stark warning to residents and potential supporters of anti-military council forces, highlighting the risks associated with city-occupation battles.

In the aftermath of Kawlin’s retake, life for residents has become increasingly challenging amidst the devastation of religious, economic, and social infrastructure. Many have been forced to seek refuge elsewhere as they grapple with the aftermath of conflict.

As the NUG reassesses its military and strategic approach, lessons from Kawlin’s recapture underscore the importance of consolidating control in key areas while strategizing for potential offensives. The ability to effectively counter military council maneuvers and maintain territorial integrity remains a critical focus for pro-democracy forces.

Moving forward, the NUG and its allies must navigate complex decision points regarding military strategy and territorial control to effectively challenge the military council’s authority and advance the cause of democracy in Myanmar.