Senior Sri Lankan defence source warns of long campaign

March 13, 2007 (AFP) – A top Sri Lankan defence source warned Tuesday the current military campaign against the Tiger rebels could take up to three years as warplanes bombed rebel positions for a second day. There have been no comments from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which have been fighting for an independent homeland for the minority Tamils in a 35-year old conflict which has claimed over 60,000 lives.

“Within the next two to three years, we should be able to eliminate them (Tamil Tigers),” the top source said, declining to be named as the air force carried out Tuesday’s bombing raid in the eastern Batticaloa district.

He said the government would pursue a political solution alongside the military campaign, which began in April, as Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse was keen to bring about an “honourable peace” to end decades of bloodshed.

“Political solutions must go parallel,” he said, adding security forces were on a strong footing to win the military campaign.
“You fight to win, there is nothing called impossible — its difficult, but not impossible,” the source said.

His comments come as troops launched a fresh offensive to forge deeper into a Tiger stronghold