The War Between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers by R Anderson
In 2006, the government of Sri Lanka resumed a major offensive against the strongholds of the Tamil Tigers in the north and east of the country. Over the course of the last 3 years, the government has completely driven the Tigers out of the eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, and is driving them farther and farther north. The Tamil Tigers are left with only 3% of the territory that they at one time possessed. The remaining Tigers are trapped, and there final strongholds will soon fall.
However, the Tigers are not the only ones trapped with little hope for escape. As of March 27, there are over 150,000 civilians that are under direct fire from both sides, and in desperate need of food, clothing, water, and medical attention. Out of those, the International Red Cross states that some 150,000 that are trapped, only 2,000 have been able to evacuate by ship, and those 2,000 are only those that are the most severely injured. The remainder, are near the middle of a war, even those that are in what has been declared a "safe zone". There has been intense pressure on the Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka to declare a ceasefire that would allow the civilians to leave the area. However with the victory so close, the government of Sri Lanka has flatly denied any idea of a cease fire. They have promised to open two "safe" lanes which civilians can safely leave through. So, for the time being, a brutal war is being fought in a small patch of land with almost 150,000 civilians packed in along with both sides fighting forces.
On May 16 the president of Sri Lanka declared victory over the Tigers, but the war didn't officially end until the following day when the final pockets of resistance were cleared out. On May 18 the government of Sri Lanka confirmed that the leader of the Tigers along with his top aides had been killed by a rocket propelled grenade attack as they were trying to flee the war zone. With the fighting over it remains to be seen how the government will respond, will they allow international aid and attempt to ensure that the displaced civilians are treated well, or will they further alienate the Tamil minority and set the stage for a second civil war.