At least two of the country’s major ethnic armed groups have pushed back against the military, and others have warned they could get involved. Fresh clashes in remote conflict zones – including military airstrikes in southeast Myanmar – have forced thousands to flee.
The crisis is beginning to spill into neighbouring Thailand and India as civilians and defecting security forces attempt to find safety, sparking warnings that a refugee crisis could quickly spiral.
“The crisis is set to deepen, with the prospects of greater bloodshed, economic damage, humanitarian emergency, and refugee flight to neighbouring countries growing,” the International Crisis Group said in a briefing.
The UN’s top envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, this week warned of “the possibility of civil war at an unprecedented scale”.