On 1 February 2021, the Burmese military attempted a coup, resulting in the rise of a national resistance movement on an unprecedented scale. Following a brutal crackdown and a national uprising on an unprecedented scale, 4,160 people, including pro-democracy activists and civilians have been killed by the junta and pro-military groups, 25,353 people have been arrested and 19,632 are currently in detention.
Resistance to the junta took many forms, including establishment of the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), National Unity Government (NUG) and National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC). The People’s Defense Force (PDF) was established in May 2021 by the NUG, to serve as the armed wing of the resistance movement. Since then, the PDF in various forms has operated nationwide, both under and outside of NUG authority, including in the areas that were historically non-conflict, such as Sagaing and Magway Region and in areas controlled by Ethnic Revolution Organizations (EROs).
Chin State, Karen State, Karenni (Kayah) State, Kachin State, Sagaing and Magway regions are among those targeted with routine air and ground strikes by Military Junta. According to UNHCR, the number of estimated of IDPs displaced within Myanmar at the beginning of the coup was 306, 200 and IDPs increased in post-coup as of 23rd October 2023 is 1,659,600, which means displacement has increased by 441% since February 2021.
Since the coup, the junta has failed to take control of the country, and the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M)’s own report released in 2022 stated that the junta can only control around 20 percent of the country’s townships. The rest areas were either controlled or heavily contested by ethnic resistance organizations (EROs) and local PDFs.
Some powerful EROs have supported for the National Unity Government (NUG), strongly against military coup and help to the PDFs in their areas are under ongoing attacks by the junta who continue to use violent tactics to crush the various opposition forces which have emerged since the failed coup.