Sri Lanka: Hung Out To Dry

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December 11,2008: The army is now advancing from three directions. Up from the south, along the east coast and.  Down along the Jaffna Peninsula. And up from the south, in the center of the island, along the A9 highway, towards the rebel headquarters of  Kilinochchi. In the last week, troops advancing up the A9 have captured two towns; Puliyankulam and Kanakarayankulam and much of the highway. The LTTE is putting a more effective resistance in front of their headquarters town of Kilinochchi, and casualties on both side are rising as the fighting intensifies. Troops of the 57th and 58th divisions are losing several dozen dead and wounded on some days. The army has air power, and much more artillery (guns and rocket launchers), so the LTTE defenders are often suffering equal, if not more, casualties. The loss of Kilinochchi will be a major blow to LTTE morale, and result in a lot more surrenders by dispirited rebels. Enemy morale is already low, in the wake of the Islamic terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. This shattered what little support the LTTE had left in India. That left LTTE supporters in Sri Lanka and south India feeling isolated and hung out to dry. As much as the Sri Lankan generals want to crush the LTTE once and for all, they don't want a bloodbath, especially among their own troops. So the advance is methodical, with everyone alert to LTTE attempts to launch one of those commando type offensives that have done so much damage to the army in the past. But back then, the army was less well trained and led, and the LTTE had a much higher proportion of experienced fighters in the ranks.

December 7, 2008: In the north, three experienced LTTE fighters, each with nearly a decade of experience, surrendered. There have been more surrenders from less experienced LTTE fighters, but it's unusual to get so many senior men giving up.

December 5, 2008: Advancing up the east coast, troops captured the village of Alampil, and about a hundred small boats used by LTTE forces to move along the coast.

 

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