The fighting is increasing in the north, as both sides do more
patrolling and strive to improve their positions in anticipation of a major
government offensive. There are several hundred casualties a week, most of them
now in the north. The LTTE has been increasing its terror operations in the
south. These attacks are directed at the population in general (to demoralize
the Sinhalese majority) and the security forces.
The government has cut off most LTTE weapons and
munitions shipments. Most of this was accomplished by getting foreign countries
to shut down LTTE arms purchases, and increasingly effective navy patrols (by
both Sri Lanka and India). The only country where the LTTE is still able to buy
munitions is Cambodia, and the government there is under international pressure
to restrain its gunrunners.
The LTTE has a population of nearly 400,000 Tamils
under its control in the north (out of a total Sri Lankan population of 20
million). There are about 3.5 million Tamils on the island. Most are tired of
the violence, so the LTTE has to use increasing amounts of force on the Tamil population
they are fighting in support of. In the last 24 years, the LTTE rebellion has
left over 70,000 dead, and the government is determined to end the fighting in
the next year.