Myanmar heading towards Syria-style 'full-blown conflict', UN chief warns

Anti-coup protesters burn a Chinese flag during a demonstration on Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Credit: AP

Myanmar is "heading towards" a "full-blown conflict" similar to the situation in Syria as hundreds of people have been killed by the military coup since February, the UN's human rights chief has said.

It comes as last Friday more than 80 people were killed by the security forces who reportedly used heavy weapons against protesters in the town of BagoIt.

So far, more than 700 people have been killed by security forces since Myanmar's military grabbed power in a coup on February 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

United Nations (UN) human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said she fears "the situation in Myanmar is heading towards a full-blown conflict.

"States must not allow the deadly mistakes of the past in Syria and elsewhere to be repeated."

Anti-coup demonstrators raise the three finger of resistance and a portrait of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they prepare to confront police in Yangon on Thursday Credit: AP

The AAPP’s tallies are widely accepted as highly credible because cases are not added until they have been confirmed, with the details published on their website.

This week the UN team in Myanmar reiterated its call for an end to violence against civilians, amid reports of dozens of deaths in the latest crackdown on protests against the military takeover.

As the police and military escalated the use of lethal force, a hardcore faction of protesters armed themselves with homemade weapons such as firebombs in the name of self-defence.

In Kalay, activists dubbed themselves a "civil army" and some equipped themselves with rudimentary hunting rifles that are traditional in the remote area.

A report by Myanmar Now said residents of Tamu, a town in the same region as Kalay, used hunting rifles on Saturday to ambush a military convoy, and claimed to kill three soldiers.

State television channel MRTV reported Friday night that a military court had sentenced to death 19 people - 17 in absentia - for allegedly killing an army officer in Yangon on March 27.