Burmese refugees flee clashes between Myanmar military and rebels close to border with Thailand

Burmese refugees fled their villages on Christmas Day amid clashes between the Myanmar military and rebels close to the border with Thailand.

Footage recorded near the town of Mae Sot in Tak province shows Burmese refugees carrying their belongings as gunshots were heard during fighting in Karen State between solders and rebel group the Karen National Union (KNU) on Saturday December 25.

Thousands of terrified villagers in Karen State have now fled their homes to take refuge in camps along the border with Tak province in northern Thailand. More than 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.

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

Fighting between the armed militias 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.

Around the country, more than 1,300 civilians are said to have been killed during military crackdowns on protests.