The Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the rebel Tamil Tigers may be close to an end. The government has now cornered the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam into an area of nearly 300 square kilometers (about 115 square miles).
The rebel group has long fought for an independent state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority, and held a stronghold in the north.
The fighting has trapped about 250,000 Tamil civilians, and the United Nations and Red Cross have urged combatants to allow civilians to leave.
The “Kalugu” blog in nearby India discusses a shift in Indian public opinion surrounding Sri Lanka’s war, arguing that support for the Tamil Tigers has recently grown enormously due to humanitarian abuses by the Sri Lankan government.
Previously, both the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government have been criticized for the humanitarian consequences of their offensives.
YouTube user “TROKilinochchi” highlights the civilian crisis and posts this video from Sunday’s government attacks on Visuvamadhu and Theravil. Viewer discretion is advised.
The “DefenceNet” blog reports that civilians fleeing a rebel stronghold in the coastal area of Challai have been attacked by Tamil forces.
The Associated Press and other news agencies report that 300 are dead and 1,100 injured, but the casualty figures are in contention. The source for these figures, government health official Thurairajah Varatharaja, now claims that he never made such estimates, a denouncement published by the Sri Lankan ministry of defense on its official website.
Blogger “Derek Barry” reminds readers that three reporters critical of the government’s anti-Tamil offenses have been killed this month — perhaps part of the “information war” in Sri Lanka.
The BBC spoke with five Sri Lankans on Monday to get their thoughts on events.