The Myanmar Army had a troop strength of around 350,000 as of 2006. The army has extensive combat experience in fighting insurgents in rough terrains, considering it has been conducting non-stop counter-insurgency operations against ethnic and political insurgents since its inception in 1948.The force is headed by the Commander in Chief (Army) currently Vice-Senior General Soe Win, concurrently Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services. The highest rank in the Myanmar Army is Senior General, equivalent to Field Marshal position in Western Armies and is currently held by Min Aung Hlaing after being promoted from Vice-Senior General.In 2011, following transition from military junta government to civilian parliamentary government, the Myanmar Army enacted a military draft for all citizens, all males from the age 18 to 35 and all females age between 18 and 27 years of age can be drafted into military service for two years as enlisted personnel in time of national emergency. The ages for professionals are up to 45 for men and 35 for women for three years service as commissioned and non-commissioned officers.Capping a transition from military dictatorship to the country's first civilian-led administration in more than half a century. President Htin Kyaw is a close ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate who led the country's struggle for democracy and endured years under house arrest before leading her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to a comprehensive election victory in November.The military men who ran the country's economy into the ground and brutally suppressed ethnic minorities and political opponents have stepped back, allowing liberalizing reforms and new freedoms. A young population is grasping new opportunities, and some hope that the resource-rich nation could finally fulfill its potential.

September 1, 1994: Aung San Suu Kyi meets the country's military leaders General Than Shwe (C) and military intelligence chief Lt-Gen. Khin Nyunt. At least 80 Burmese pro-democracy politicians were detained as the military government moved to stop members of Suu Kyi's.National League for Democracy party from holding a meeting at her house.

The ruling military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) - which won the last, widely criticised election five years ago - has so far gained about 5% of the seats being contested in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

2014 October - Parliamentary elections set for October/November 2015.Government announces release of 3,000 prisoners. Burma watchers say most are petty criminals, but include ex-military intelligence officers imprisoned along with former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, who was freed in 2012.2015 February - Flare-up in fighting with Kokang separatists in Shan State near the border with China leaves nearly 50 soldiers dead. Government puts Kokang region under temporary martial law.Government withdraws temporary voting rights from Muslim Rohingyas ahead of proposed constitutional referendum, following street protests by Buddhists. Aung San Suu Kyi spent more than 15 years under house arrest before being released in 2010, going on to lead her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory at elections two years ago.But a clause in the constitution forbids her from becoming president.It bans anyone with foreign family members from taking the top job.Aung San Suu Kyi married British historian Michael Amis (who died in 1999 while she was under house arrest) and had two sons.The clause is widely considered to have been written into the 2008 Constitution just for her, a glass ceiling installed by the junta to keep 'The Lady' down.But in a deft political move, she gave the presidential job to a trusted friend and created the new role of State Counsellor, making no secret that her position was more powerful.Despite the recent international backlash against her, Ms Suu Kyi is still widely popular within Myanmar, especially amongst the Buddhist Burman majority, but also amongst many of the 135 ethnic groups.She's not the President, but she is the de facto leader of the nation.

Aung San Suu Kyi wins outright majority in Myanmar election.Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar's first openly contested election in 25 years in November 2015.

Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest before her party won a 2015 election, had also faced growing criticism over the treatment of the Rohingya amid a bloody military crackdown following attacks by insurgents."We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection," the statement quoted Suu Kyi as saying. "So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well."There's a population of around a million people living in fear right now, facing the likely wrath of an uncaring government that doesn't seem to recognize their claim to the country they have always called home. The crisis along the Burma-Bangladesh border has dramatically intensified over the past week, with more than 125,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing a Burmese military offensive in restive Rakhine state, according to aid organizations. Reports keep flooding in of mass killings carried out by Burmese security forces, as well as torture, rape and the systematic razing of Rohingya villages.

An estimated 370,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh in 18 days. Most have nothing but the clothes they were wearing and the belongings they could quickly grab and carry on their backs. Now they face Bangladesh’s monsoon season, slicked with mud and soaked to the skin, waiting under tarpaulins with nowhere to go.

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