The cross-border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia has seen both countries suffer fatalities during fighting in two different locations in the past week. Last weekend the friction was in northwest Cambodia around the Ta Muen Thom and Prasat Krabey temples, some 70kms northwest of the tourist attraction of the 13th century Banteay Chhmar temple.
Yesterday the conflict spread to the larger World Heritage temple of Preah Vihear, in northern Cambodia, where the most recent fighting between the border troops last took place in February. Whilst the sporadic clashes continue, up to 25,000 Cambodian civilians have been displaced from their villages and are received aid and shelter from government agencies. Similar numbers have been recorded on the Thai side of the border area as well.
The main border crossing between the two countries at Poipet/Aranyaprathet remains open for the time being though two smaller crossings have been closed at O’Smach and Choam.
The problems are occurring well away from the main tourist centers of Siem Reap and Battambang in the northern half of Cambodia and will not affect anyone heading for those locations. If the situation changes, we will keep you informed.
Update: Local commanders along the disputed border have agreed a ceasefire and although it broke down temporarily on Friday and Saturday, its expected to stem the serious exchanges until the countries can get together for more detailed talks to placate the situation. The sooner the better for the 45,000 villagers displaced by the fighting on the Cambodian side of the border and the 50,000 on the Thai side.