The U.S. embassy in Yangon said it was “deeply concerned” over clashes involving ethnic armed groups and the military in northern Myanmar that have displaced thousands of people, warning that the violence threatened to unravel the country’s delicate peace process. Heavy bouts of fighting broke out last week in Shan state between two ethnic rebel groups in the region, the Restoration Council for Shan State (RCSS) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). The flare-up of violence comes during a complicated political transition from an army-backed government to Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party, which dominated historic polls last year. “The U.S. embassy is deeply concerned about ongoing clashes in Shan State involving the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), and the military,” the embassy said in a statement published Friday evening. “We urge all sides to exercise restraint and recommit to dialogue so that the peace process may remain on track, and those displaced can return to their homes and resume their lives,” it said. Since the beginning of the month at least 4,300 people have fled their homes seeking refuge from the violence, according to estimates from the United Nations’ country Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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Newsline: US embassy raises alarm at fighting in northern Myanmar