Sri Lanka

U.S. prepares Sri Lanka relief effort

Jason Motlagh received a grant from the Pulitzer Center in 2008 to report from Sri Lanka. The following is an excerpt from Jason and Nicholas Kralev that was featured in the Washington Times on the US administration's efforts to faciliate a peaceful end to a seemingly endless conflict.

Sri Lanka: Targeting Blood Donors

Maura R. O'Connor, for the Pulitzer Center

During the last two months, over 7,000 wounded civilians have been evacuated to the port city of Trincomalee from the front lines of the ongoing battle between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Those who have arrived in Trincomalee have been trapped in the north for months with an estimated 150 to 190,000 other civilians in the shrinking conflict zone. They represent the most desperate cases among thousands of people being wounded by mortar attacks exchanged between the two sides.

Tamil Tiger Trap

Not even the United Nations can stand in the way of the Sri Lankan army now. Looking to finish off the Tamil Tigers, the government has ordered the few aid agencies still in the northern war zone to leave, saying it can't guarantee their safety.

Asia's longest-running civil war has left many claims of imminent victory in its wake, along with an estimated 70,000 dead. The difference today is that Tiger losses on the battlefield are compounded by high-level defections, and a stranglehold on the fundraising and smuggling operations that have sustained them.

Sri Lanka: Clear the Way

Journalists have been barred from covering the war in Sri Lanka's battered northern region, and now aid workers are out of the picture. As government forces aggressively advance toward the Tamil Tiger capital, Kilinochchi, tens of thousands of displaced Tamils have lost the only bulwark between them and two sides with grim human rights records.

Sri Lanka Pushes Back on Rebel Forces

For the first time in more than a decade, government forces are making inroads into rebel strongholds and are within striking distance of their capital, according to military officials who insist an end to Asia's longest civil war is near.

Military Harassment Threatens Sri Lanka's Oasis of Peace

The chief minister of Sri Lanka's eastern province nodded with concern as a member of the provincial council described a security problem. It was a typical scene of government proceedings – except that the minister is a former Tamil rebel commander and enemy of the four Army generals seated to his left, taking notes.

Sri Lanka: The War on Journalists

There is a two front war in Sri Lanka. One against the Tamil Tigers, and another against those trying to cover the human toll. Denied access by a government and rebel movement that tolerate no version of events but their own, journalists are scared into submission. Those who dare ask the important questions themselves become targets.