2 days ago, civilians in LTTE held areas in and around Thoppigala began fleeing their homes and took refugee in government controlled areas in Batticaloa. This was because they saw the signs of the forthcoming major battle and did not want to be used again as human shields by the LTTE.
The army seems to be engaging in the operation to liberate Thoppigala according to a well devised plan. Firstly, long range artillery fire and airstrikes took known rebel positions deep inside the jungles. During last week, regualr infantry units conducted pre emptive strikes on strategic locations in the east and captured them. The operation has now reached the most decisive phase. It is this phase which triggered the mass civilian exodus during the last few days.
Civilians saw heavily armed personnel, clad in jungle uniforms and wearing black clothes around their heads, entering the jungles of Thoppigala. These men were moving in groups of 4 and 8. The civilians had seen none other than the Sri lanka army's elite Special Forces units preparing to infiltrate rebel defence lines. Special Forces will play a major role in softening up the tigers till the final thrust is made using regular infantry and mechanized units.
Meanwhile intelligence information suggests that LTTE has deployed it's elite Jeyanthan brigade to hunt down any SF personnel who infiltrated their defenses. Jeyanthan brigade fled in disarray when a 40 man Special Forces squad carried out a legendary amphibious assault on Vakarai town center during Vakarai offensive. SF was able to capture the Vakarai hospital within 5 minutes in this assault.
What will happen when Special Forces and Jeyanthan brigade meets for a second time in dense jungles of Thoppigala? Will SF be able to rout the tigers once more? Will the tigers use jungle terrain to their advantage? Only time will tell.