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Myanmar airstrikes shift extra people along Thai-Myanmar border

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Myanmar’s military carried out more airstrikes on a rebel-controlled area near the Thai border on Friday, according to the rebel group, in the latest round of violence that has seen hundreds flee to Thailand. Late Thursday, the military launched at least two airstrikes and fired artillery rounds on an area under its control near the Thai-Myanmar border, according to the Karen National Union (KNU).

On Thursday evening at around 11 p.m. local time, a Thai border town about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from where the air strikes are said to have occurred heard several explosions.

The Myanmar military junta’s spokesman did not return calls seeking comment. Myanmar has been in upheaval since the military deposed a civilian government led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, sparking protests and sporadic clashes between anti-junta militia and the army in the countryside.

According to Thailand’s foreign ministry, new fighting between the Myanmar military and the KNU erupted last week, and more than 4,200 people have crossed into Thailand since the violence began. According to civil society organizations, the number of displaced people could be as high as 10,000.

The airstrikes have displaced more civilians in the area, according to KNU spokesman Saw Taw Nee, who reiterated his organization’s call for the international community to establish a no-fly zone in the area.

Tanee Sangrat, a spokesman for Thailand’s foreign ministry, said at a press conference on Friday that Thailand was concerned about the recent violence in Karen state, which impacted Thais living near the border.

Several foreign envoys to Myanmar, including from the EU, Britain and the United States, issued a joint statement on Friday calling for an end to “indiscriminate attacks” in Karen state and elsewhere by the military. “The recent attacks on civilians in Karen State, including the shelling of villages, are a violation of International Humanitarian Law and must stop,” they said.