Many of the targeted villages are controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU), an armed armed group that maintains large areas in the border areas.
According to relief organization Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a 5-year-old boy was killed in a bombing on Sunday, and a 12-year-old girl was hit by a bomb with a sieve. The girl came to the village of De Bu Noh to join the group.
The FBR said a high school in Dwe Lo Township was destroyed in an air raid on Monday, but no casualties were reported. Subsequently, on Tuesday, six people were killed and 11 were injured in an airstrike near Hasavati Basti.
In a statement on Tuesday, KNU condemned Myanmar’s military bombing operations. “The villagers, including young children, have been killed by airstrikes,” the KNU statement said. “Many are injured.”
CNN has not been able to independently verify these reports.
Residents fleeing the violence have fled to many neighboring countries, including Thailand and India.
According to the Advocacy Group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Myanmar security forces have killed at least 521 people since the coup, with more than 2,600 in custody.
Rebel groups in ethnic states
More than two dozen ethnic armed groups are fighting against the Myanmar army – known as Tatmadhav – and for each other, for more than 70 years of rights and autonomy.
In some of these areas, fighting has escalated since the coup.
Several ethnic armed groups, including the KNU, have come out in support of the protests and condemned the military takeover.
KNU said it attacked a military outpost near the border with Thailand on Saturday morning.
“This checkpoint was taken to stop the terror of the villagers and to allow people to return safely to their communities,” the KNU said in its statement on Tuesday.
The rebels said that Myanmar military troops were now going to the occupied areas of KNU despite ceasefire since 2015.
The KNU statement said, “Thousands of Burma military ground forces are advancing in our territories from all fronts.” “We have no other option left, but to confront these grave threats by the army of illegitimate military junta to protect our territory.”
In a report in Myanmar’s military-controlled Global New Light on Tuesday, General Min Aung Hling accused KNU of “dancing to the tune of countries and organizations” that oppose Janta.
This weekend, for the first time in 20 years, airstrikes have been carried out in a KNU-controlled area, said Free Burma Rangers founder David Eubank.
The group urged the international community to provide humanitarian aid to those fleeing the “attack” of military people and pressured the ruling junta to stop using weapons against civilians. “We are very concerned about the safety and security of our citizens,” the statement said.
Run across borders
Thousands have fled Myanmar to their neighboring countries, raising concern and alarm in the region about the possible flooding of refugees.
Since the airstrikes, 3,000 people have attempted to cross the Salwen River in Thailand and 2,000 have been pushed back, according to the KNU.
Activist group Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), which operates within Karen State and refugee camps in Thailand, confirmed that airstrikes had evacuated 10,000 people from their homes in the state, and 3,000 crossed into Thailand .
The Thai Foreign Ministry confirmed that on Tuesday, the country provided medical treatment and other assistance to seven people injured while fleeing Myanmar. The ministry said in a statement, six ambulances were deployed to take them to the hospital. Assistance was also given to vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.
“These people could not return across the border yesterday, despite the desire to return home, they also feared an airstrike,” the statement said. “The authorities concerned have ensured that this particular group of people was well taken care of, and that they were ready to return to their homes when the situation was deemed safe.”
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayag Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that his government did not return those entering the country.
“There are many people who have entered some villages (on the Thai side), and when we found them, we talked to them. Later we asked questions about what their problems were in your country, they said, any problems. No, “a news conference said during the prayer.
“We did not force them (to return) with guns,” added the prayer. “There is no way we will push them back if the fight still continues. But if there is no longer a fight, can they return to their homes?”
He previously said that although his government did not want the refugees to cross the border, they were preparing for a possible flood.
Thailand has hosted thousands of refugees for over ten decades in nine main camps along its border with Myanmar, following armed conflict, human rights abuses and persecution of ethnic minorities by the Myanmar military.
The majority of those crossing the border over the weekend are from the Mu Trouve district, where the bombings have been concentrated. Many of them are people who have already fled their homes and are living in the Ei Tu Hut displacement camp.
Hundreds of people have trekked from western Myanmar to the neighboring state of Mizoram. Networks of local people and activists have helped facilitate their crossings, and are providing shelter to many people with no family in India.
“They are not criminals,” the state’s chief minister told CNN earlier this month. However, the federal government has not publicly announced what it will do with the new arrivals.
Meanwhile in China, the Kovid-19 outbreak has been blamed on those fleeing Myanmar. Yunnan province bordering Myanmar to the south detected nine Kovid-19 cases on Tuesday, four of which are Burmese civilians.
The Yunnan Health Commission launched a testing program in the city of Ruili, and closed the city with suspended inbound and outbound travel. In a statement, the commission said that local authorities would clamp down on illegal border crossings from Myanmar.
Chinese officials also blamed Myanmar smugglers for the huge increase in cases in September, with the Ruili police deputy director telling reporters that “Burmese asymmetric cases were crossing the Chinese border illegally.”
China, along with Russia, recently blocked a UN move to condemn Myanmar’s military.
Helen Regan of CNN contributed to this report.