The Sri Lankan army's control of property left vacant by fleeing civil war refugees has stopped thousands of Tamils returning home, according to activists.

After Sri Lanka declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009, the army took control of farms and houses left empty by Tamils who had fled the violence.

The military says its mission in northern Jaffna is to prevent "hardline rebel sympathisers" from returning from abroad.

But rights groups say the "militarisation" of Tamil areas means thousands of people who fled the war still cannot return.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Source: Al Jazeera