Heavy weapons include 81 mm and 120 mm mortars coming from Lashio where Artillery Command #902 is based and from Taunggyi where Artillery Command #903 is based. Sources however were still unsure if 105 mm howitzers were also used against them.
Fresh infantry battalions were also listed among the attacking Burmese forces: Light Infantry Battalions (LIBs) 17, 114 and 115 from Nawng-Khio, for instance.
They were the result of the failure of the air force to bomb rebel positions on 13 July, according to the sources. “Our positions were so close to each other, bombing us wouldn’t have failed to endanger their own people,” said a field officer. “Also when the Burmese units used smoke to mark their ground positions, our troops were quick to do the same thereby effectively confusing the pilots.”
The fighting since 10 July has been centered around Nampook, a key Burma Army base at the junction of motor roads from Mongyai, Kehsi and Monghsu. The SSA North main base is roughly half way between Nampook and Monghsu (50 miles).
Casualties have been heavy, according to civilian sources in Kehsi. “Civilian vehicles are being commandeered to transport supplies, ammunitions and reinforcements to the front and casualties on their way back,” said a bus driver.
At least 20 villages in the battle zone are deserted except for a few villagers who are working in their monsoon paddy fields. “One village, Wan Merd, was caught by an enemy shell that overshot the mark and a number of them were injured,” said a Shan fighter.
The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the party that emerged second in Shan State in 2010, will be submitting a report on the situation of civilians caught in the crossfire to request relief assistance to them, according to SNDP sources.