Rights groups say Myanmar military is increasing air attacks



Myanmar’s military is increasingly turning to airstrikes with deadly results to try to crush stiff armed resistance two years after it seized power and plunged the country into a prolonged civil war, a human rights monitoring group said in a report Tuesday.

The military is heavily reliant on fighter jets and helicopter gunships supplied by its allies Russia and China, ac-cording to the organization Myanmar Witness and other experts. The group’s compilation of 135 “airwar incidents” from July to mid-December shows the number of airstrikes has been on an upward trend since September.

“As the Myanmar military struggles to exert control over areas of resistance, airstrikes have become a key part of their offensive,” the report says. The military “is putting the population of Myanmar in a precarious position, de-stroying homes, schools and places of worship — sites which should be safe for civilians.”

According to a January statement by the National Unity Government, an underground group that calls itself the country’s legitimate government and serves as an umbrella organization for opponents of military rule, 460 civilians, mostly children, have lost their lives in airstrikes.

Myanmar’s army has defended its actions, saying they are being used against what it calls terrorist activities and legitimate military targets.—AFP