In Myanmar, a major offensive led by an alliance of three ethnic minority militias, known collectively as the Three Brotherhood Alliance, has significantly challenged the military-run government. The operation, initiated on October 27, has been marked by intense and unprecedented battles, particularly in Shan state, leaving Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, in disarray. The offensive has sparked nationwide resistance, raising hopes among opponents for a potential turning point in the struggle against the military regime that overthrew the democratically elected government nearly three years ago.
The Tatmadaw has suffered substantial losses, including over 180 outposts and key border crossings, prompting a regrouping strategy. However, the militias’ swift and widespread advances have dampened military morale, with increasing defections and surrenders. The United Nations reports that the conflict has displaced nearly 335,000 civilians, adding to the over 2 million displaced nationwide.
The operation has also complicated Myanmar’s relationship with China. Beijing’s tacit support for the militias, partly due to concerns over border drug trade and cybercrime, has been evident as Chinese nationals involved in illegal activities have been repatriated. Despite the Tatmadaw’s superior size and weaponry, the current situation presents a significant challenge, arguably the most severe since the coup, with the military struggling to maintain control and facing a unified opposition front.