Residents of Kyaukme in northern Myanmar are counting their dead and picking through rubble following fresh fighting that shredded a Beijing-brokered cease-fire between the junta and an alliance of armed ethnic groups.

Last week fighters from the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) took control of the town of 30,000 — on the main trade route into China — in the latest setback for the military as it battles opponents across the country.

But air and artillery strikes, as well as rocket attacks, have gutted parts of the northern Shan state town, leaving buildings without roofs or windows, and residents desperate to flee.