Sri Lanka: Downfall


July 29, 2008: The generals believe that the LTTE is just about finished. Army intelligence estimates that the LTTE has lost two thirds of its military power this year. That includes 9,000 fighters, most of them newly conscripted teenagers. Between losing territory, and Tamils fleeing to government controlled territory, the LTTE only controls about 200,000 civilians in the north. The army believes the LTTE only has about 5,000 armed fighters, and most of these are recently conscripted and poorly trained. The LTTE is also short on ammunition, because of the improved navy interdiction campaign during the last year. The fighting in the north is getting more intense, and causing several hundred casualties a week. But most of these are LTTE losses, and the army has been advancing at the rate of about three kilometers a week. The typical combat is army troops versus LTTE fighters defending their earth and log bunkers. The LTTE conscripts are kept in line by the few "cadres" (veteran LTTE fighters) still alive. There are believed to be a thousand or so cadres left, including the few hundred LTTE elite commandos. The army believes that the LTTE will be crushed by the end of the year, and are confident enough to say so out loud.

The low army casualties has done wonders for army recruiters, who have plenty of new volunteers, plus thousands of deserters returning to service. The army has been losing about one soldier for every ten LTTE fighters killed this year. That means less than 500 soldiers killed, and a few thousand soldiers wounded. Thus armed forces strength has risen to 162,000 and morale is high. Most troops sense that the end of the 25 year long war is near.

July 28, 2008: The LTTE announced a unilateral ceasefire until August 4th, but insisted that they would return fire if the army kept advancing. The government refused to get involved in any ceasefire, and called on the LTTE to surrender, or at least engage in talks. The LTTE has refused to talk unless the army stops advancing into their territory in the north.

July 23, 2008: Off the northwest coast, 13 LTTE smuggling boats were destroyed. Between the efforts of the Sri Lankan and Indian navies, LTTE supply operations have been reduced to a trickle. That means hardly any ammo, medicine or military equipment is getting through.

July 20, 2008: Troops captured another LTTE base (at Illuppaikkadavai) along the coast in the Mannar region of the north. The captured base was home to several hundred LTTE fighters, and was captured largely intact.


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