Since the latest civil war began in Myanmar in 2021, elements of the opposition movement have been making increasingly bold claims about its battlefield successes and the problems facing the military regime. Some of these claims need to be treated very carefully.

There is no doubt that the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and its People’s Defence Force (PDF), together with various other groups, have made considerable progress against the junta. Contrary to the expectations of many observers, the armed resistance has become better organised, better trained and better equipped. It is now able to pose a real challenge to the junta’s military forces (the Tatmadaw) and police.

This has led to some remarkable claims. For example, in 2022, the NUG’s acting president Duwa Lashi La announced that the regime had lost control of at least half the country. More recently, the NUG claimed (without presenting any evidence) that more than 15,000 military and police personnel had “defected” to the opposition. This had reportedly undermined the morale of the security forces and left the junta gravely weakened.

Please click here to read the full “How credible are the casualty figures coming out of Myanmar?” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Professor Andrew Selth.