As the government's push to rout Tamil Tiger rebels in the north intensifies, so too have security measures in the south. In the past, when under heavy pressure, the Tigers have ramped up attacks on civilians in government-held areas.
Aggressive Sri Lankan government forces continue to push deeper into the Tamil Tiger heartland and are now within reach of their administrative capital, raising hopes that the end of a brutal 25-year civil war may be near.
The military campaign has benefited from an international crackdown on the Tigers' fundraising and smuggling networks, and high-level defections that have undermined grassroots Tamil support for its iron-willed chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Photographs by Jason Motlagh
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - After 25 years of fighting and 70,000 casualties, Sri Lanka's military has won a hard-fought upper hand against separatist Tamil Tigers – and now vows to break their northern stronghold by year's end.
For the first time in more than a decade, Sri Lankan government forces are deep inside the Tamil Tigers' northern stronghold and within striking distance of the Tamil capital, according to military officials who insist an end to one of Asia's deadliest civil wars nears by the day.
Some observers say it's still too soon to talk of the end of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's 25-year armed struggle for a Tamil state. ...
Pulitzer Center Staff
Fierce fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people in northern Sri Lanka, as government troops advance deeper into the Tamil rebels' last stronghold in an aggressive bid to crush them by the end of the year.
More than 112,000 ethnic Tamils have fled from their homes over the past two months amid daily gunbattles, shelling and air attacks, aid agencies say.
The United Nations estimates the total number of displaced in rebel-held areas is now around 145,000, an unprecedented level in the island nation's long-running conflict.