Aid set to reach Sri Lanka's north

UN convoys into the country's troubled Vanni region due to resume.

    The Sri Lankan army claims it is close
    to capturing Kilinochchi [AFP]

    The Sri Lankan government began escalating its military assault on the LTTE after a ceasefire broke down in January and the Sri Lankan army now claims it is close to capturing Kilinochchi, the Tiger's de-facto capital.

    Aid convoy

    The UN estimates as many as 230,000 people have been displaced around Kilinochchi and the stronghold of Mullaittivu, in Sri Lanka's Vanni region.

    "The fighting has become increasingly severe in the past three months - it affected our own operation in the area which is why we withdrew," Gordon Weiss, who is helping organise the UN relief efforts in Sri Lanka, told Al Jazeera.

    He said the renewed aid convoys into the Vanni required the co-operation both the government and the LTTE.

    "The government, in fact, is intimately involved in this convoy - they support the effort to move supplies into the Vanni ... The government is making up half of the convoy that is going into the Vanni this week," Weiss said.

    "It's not going to be sufficient in and of itself but its the first of a number of convoys. This is going to be a supply line."

    Sri Lanka's government ordered aid workers to leave the country's northern war zone at the beginning of September, amid intense fighting in the Tamil Tiger-held north.
    The government said it was trying to avoid a repeat of the August 2006 killing of 17 local aid workers employed by the French aid agency Action Against Hunger.

    Ongoing clashes

    Land and sea battles in the north have killed at least 53 people in clashes between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan army, the military said on Tuesday.

    In an ocean battle, the Sri Lankan navy said it blew up two Tiger boats and killed at least eight "Sea Tiger" fighters.

    Land clashes in the Indian Ocean island nation's north on Tuesday killed 39 fighters and six soldiers, while wounding 52 LTTE fighters and 19 soldiers, the military said.

    It was not possible to verify the military's reports because most journalists and other independent observers are barred from the war zone.

    Both sides often exaggerate their enemy's losses and under report their own.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Remembering Chernobyl

    Remembering Chernobyl

    The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion remains as politicised as ever, 28 years on.