Myanmar refugees flee as gunfire erupts on border between Myanmar and Thailand

Footage shows clashes close to the border between Myanmar and Thailand on Tuesday December 22 as thousands of refugees flee the country.

Fighting between the rebel group the Karen National Union (KNU) and Burmese military has intensified in recent weeks amid the political turmoil in the country caused by the ousting for former leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February.

Thousands of terrified villagers in Karen State have fled their homes to take refuge in camps along the border with Tak province in northern Thailand. About 3,400 people have taken shelter in the town of Mae Sot in recent days, Thai authorities said. Thousands more are stranded on the Myanmar side of the border, waiting to cross.

Karen rebel forces are now calling for a ‘no-fly zone’ around the Thai border amid fears that civilians could be targeted by air strikes carried out by the army.

Saw Taw Nee, the head of the KNU’s foreign affairs department, called for coordination between UN Security Council and the international community to establish the no-fly zone.

He said: ‘These airstrikes won’t target military bases but civilian bases as in schools, hospitals, houses and villages.’