Opposition forces fighting against Myanmar’s military junta had been making progress in recent months, but on Oct. 27 they crossed a threshold, dealing a powerful blow to government forces and putting the regime on the defensive. Named after the date on which it was launched, Operation 1027 could be a turning point in the country’s civil war.
The blitzkrieg unfolded in Myanmar’s eastern-most Shan state, where an alliance of ethnic militias calling itself the Three Brotherhood Alliance swept across key areas along the border with China, taking control of several towns and overrunning scores of military outposts. Large numbers of soldiers from Myanmar’s massive military, known as the Tatmadaw, reportedly laid down their arms and surrendered without a fight. The rebels seized key roads and blew up bridges to prevent the Tatmadaw from sending reinforcements.
The militias also captured a significant arsenal, said to include heavy machine guns capable of striking helicopters and fighter jets, which the army has used against opposition forces and civilian populations.