The Sri Lankan army says it has seized the last piece of coastline occupied by the rebel Tamil Tigers. It is the first time the government in Colombo has controlled the coast in 25 years and the separatists now face total destruction as a conventional fighting force.
The advance by Sri Lankan troops signals a military finish to a war which has claimed 70,000 lives since 1983. Troops are still closing in on pockets of Tamil Tiger resistance – the rebels meanwhile are vowing to fight on for a separate homeland. Meanwhile more civilians are fleeing the battle zone. At least 10,000 have managed to escape but thousands more are still trapped and pretty much left to their own devices to get to safety. Surviving Tamil Tigers are threatening to escalate their campaign. In the past they have mounted a series of dramatic terror raids and suicide bombings especially in the in the Sri Lankan capital. The stakes could not be higher for Sri Lanka. The government doesn’t want the surrounded Tigers to escape. On the other hand. the Tigers’ 30 year fight for a separate homeland is nearing an end on the battlefield, and may now move to a different phase.