HUFFINGTON POST
03/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sri Lankan Rebels Urged To Surrender, Cornered On Island

The Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan terrorist group seeking independence for the country's Tamil minority, have been cornered by the Sri Lankan military after months of intense and bloody fighting.

The Press Trust of India reports that the seventh and final airstrip once under the control of the Tamil Tigers has been captured by Sri Lankan military forces, though none of the single-engine planes used by the rebel forces were found.

Troops are on the verge of sweeping through the few remaining Tamil Tiger strongholds, now confined to less than 275 square kilometers, the army said.

It accused the Tamil Tigers of forcing the arming of entrapped civilians ... to fire against troops approaching towards the eastern part of Ramanadapuram in A-35 Paranthan-Mullaittivu road.

The European Union, United States, Japan and Norway -- key allies of the island nation -- are urging the Tamil Tigers, or LTTE, to surrender and cease all fighting, reports the Times of India.

They "call on the LTTE to discuss with the government of Sri Lanka
the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms, renunciation of violence" and accept an amnesty.

"There remains probably only a short period of time before the LTTE loses control of all areas in the north," the statement from the quartet, who backed the island's failed Norwegian-led peace process, said.

The efforts of the Co-Chairs quartet to convince the LTTE to allow civilians to flee during the conflict failed, said the Times of India.

As the government closed in on the last of the Tamil Tigers' strongholds, civilians attempting to escape a hospital in LTTE territory were caught in crossfire as the fighting intensified, reported The Guardian.

A dozen patients have been killed in the past two days in repeated attacks on the hospital in Puthukkudiyiruppu. Both sides deny the shelling. The Red Cross claimed that people were running from the wards - the only medical facilities in the war zone - for "less exposed locations".

"People have started to leave the hospital because they don't feel safe there," Sarasi Wijeratne, the spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombo, told the Associated Press.

The Red Cross is in talks with both sides in attempt to secure safe passage for the patients, The Guardian also reported.