Srettha vows to ensure protection of Thai citizens amid Myanmar border clashes


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says he is deeply concerned about the escalating conflict along the Thai-Myanmar border. He has pledged readiness to offer humanitarian aid as required and ensure the protection of Thai citizens.

The latest reports indicate a mass evacuation of thousands of refugees from the affected area.

From the ongoing conflict between anti-government groups and the Myanmar military forces near the Second Friendship Bridge (Myanmar side), opposite Mae Sot district, Tak province, starting from Friday evening until Saturday morning, there have been refugees fleeing the war crossing into Thailand.

Srettha vows to ensure protection of Thai citizens amid Myanmar border clashes

Srettha posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) that he has been closely monitoring the clashes between military forces near the Second Friendship Bridge on the Myanmar side since the early hours of Saturday, and was deeply concerned.

He said he did not want the ongoing conflict to impact the territorial integrity or violate the sovereignty of Thailand in any way. Thailand is always ready to provide humanitarian assistance if necessary and, at the same time, is committed to protecting the safety of Thai citizens, he added.

Nikorndej Balankura, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, stated that the ministry has been closely monitoring the situation. Thai security forces have been vigilantly observing the border area to prevent any violation of Thailand's sovereignty.

Srettha vows to ensure protection of Thai citizens amid Myanmar border clashes

Furthermore, Nikorndej said, Thailand is committed to ensuring the safety of the people in the area to the fullest extent possible. Thailand stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance if needed and is prepared to take all necessary action to restore peace and tranquillity to the Thai-Myanmar border area.

There has been fighting in Myawaddy, Myanmar, since Friday evening. Opposition forces had successfully taken control of Myawaddy, a key economic city, prior to the start of the Songkran Festival. However, there are still more than 200 soldiers of the Myanmar military government seeking refuge in the Ye Pu area, near the Moei River checkpoint, across from the Thai side in Ban Wang Takhian Tai. As of this writing, they have not yet surrendered their weapons.

The anti-government military faction in Myanmar deployed drones to drop explosives on the government military forces' positions Friday night. This resulted in intense fighting noises echoing for hours until 4am Saturday.

At 7am skirmishes continued near the Second Border Checkpoint in Myawaddy, opposite Mae Sot.

Thai soldiers have been deployed to secure the area and maintain peace along the border near the Second Friendship Bridge after clashes erupted close to the Moei River, about 50 metres from the Thai side of the border. Explosive devices were also reportedly dropped near the Thai side.

Srettha vows to ensure protection of Thai citizens amid Myanmar border clashes

More than 200 Myanmar refugees from Myawaddy are seeking to cross over to the Thai side through natural channels in Mae Sot. Among them are small children and elderly individuals. This exodus comes after the opposition forces detonated explosives.

However, the Thai military says it cannot yet allow the refugees to cross over because any entry must be through legal checkpoints, specifically the First Immigration Checkpoint in Mae Sot district.

Previously, the Thai government had prepared disaster relief centres in three districts: Mae Sot, Phop Phra, and Mae Ramat.

In the afternoon, the atmosphere along the Thai-Myanmar border saw Myanmar citizens gradually crossing over to the Thai side. More than 1,200 people have crossed over since Saturday morning.

Fighting continues unabated along the Myanmar side of the Myawaddy border, with the military government deploying helicopters armed with machine-guns and missiles to engage opposition forces. Additionally, air strikes using MiG-29 fighter jets have been conducted against the opposition.