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After defeating the insurgency led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in 1971, the Sri Lanka Armed Forces were confronted with a new conflict, this time with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other Tamil militant groups. The war escalated to the point where India was asked to intervene as a peacekeeping force. This was later seen as a tactical error, as the IPKF united nationalist elements such as the JVP to politically support the LTTE in their call to evict the IPKF. The war with the LTTE was halted following the signing of a ceasefire agreement in 2002 with the help of international mediation. However, renewed violence broke out in December 2005 and following the collapse of peace talks, the army has been involved in the heavy fighting that has resumed in the north and east of the country.

Since 1980 the army has undertaken many operations against the LTTE rebels. The major operations conducted by the army eventually lead to the capture of Jaffna and other rebel strongholds.

Major combat operations of the Sri Lankan ArmyEdit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
1971 JVP Insurrection 1971–1972

Eelam War I (1976-1987)Edit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Vadamarachchi Operation

IPKF interventionEdit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
JVP Uprising 1987–1990

Eelam War II (1990-1995)Edit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Operation Sea Breeze
Operation Thrividha Balaya
Operation Balavegaya I, II

Eelam War III (1995-2002)Edit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Operation Riviresa
Operation Jayasikurui
Operation Rivibala
Operation Ranagosa
Operation Rivikirana
Operation Kinihira I, II, III/IV, V/VI, VII, VIII, IX

Eelam War IV (2006-2009)Edit

Eastern TheaterEdit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Operations in Thoppigala area

Northern TheaterEdit

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
2008 SLA Northern offensive

Major BattlesEdit

The table below lists all the major battles of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The information included in the table has been pieced together from the individual battle articles.

Eelam War I
23 July 1983 –
29 July 1987
Kokkilai Offensive13 February 1985SLA camp, Kokkilai, Mullaitivu District4-10016LTTE victory
Vadamarachchi Operation
(aka Operation Liberation)
26 May 1987 - June 1987Vadamarachchi, Jaffna District689631Partial SLA victory,
Operation Poomalai
Operation Poomalai4 June 1987Jaffna, Jaffna DistrictIndian intervention
Cease Fire
29 July 1987 - October 1987
Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan Civil War
October 1987 - 24 March 1990
Operation Pawan11 October 1987 –
25 October 1987
Jaffna, Jaffna District?214IPKF victory
Operation TrishulApril 1988Northern Province
Operation ViraatApril 1988Northern ProvinceIPKF victory
Operation CheckmateJune 1988Vadamarachi, Northern ProvinceIPKF victory
Jaffna University Helidrop12 October 1988Jaffna, Jaffna DistrictLTTE victory
Eelam War II
10 June 1990 –
9 January 1995
Battle of Kokavil27 June 1990 –
11 July 1990
SLA camp, Kokavil, Kilinochchi District69LTTE victory
Operation Sea BreezeSLA victory
Operation Thrividha BalayaSLA victory
Operation Balavegaya
(aka Operation Power Force)
14 July 1991 –
9 August 1991
Jaffna, Jaffna District202-400573-1,000+SLA victory
Operation SathbalaSLA victory
Operation Balavegaya IISLA victory
Welioya2330SLA victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (1st)10 July 1991 –
9 August 1991
SLA camp, Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi District202-400573-1,000SLA victory
Battle of Pooneryn11 November 1993 –
12 November 1993
Pooneryn (Poonakari), Kilinochchi District441469Both SLA & LTTE claimed the victory
Cease Fire
9 January 1995 –
19 April 1995
Eelam War III
19 April 1995 - December 2001
Operation Riviresa (Sun Rays) /
Battle of Jaffna
17 October 1995 –
5 December 1995
Jaffna, Jaffna District5002,000SLA victory
Battle of Mullaitivu (1st)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves)
18 July 1996 –
25 July 1996
Mullaitivu, Mullaitivu District1,242332LTTE victory
Operation Sath Jaya26 July 1996 –
3 October 1996
Elephant Pass and Kilinochchi≈ 500121SLA victory
Vavunathivu Offensive7 March 1997SLA camp, Vavunathivu, Batticaloa District75103LTTE victory
Operation Jayasikurui13 May 1997 - 1999Sri Lanka1,3503,614LTTE victory
* Thandikulam–Omanthai offensive10 June 1997 –
25 June 1997
Thandikulam & Omanthai, Vavuniya District700165LTTE victory
Battle of Kilinochchi (1st)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves II)
27 September 1998 –
29 September 1998
Kilinochchi, Kilinochchi District443520LTTE victory
Operation Rana Gosa4 March 1999 –
Northern Province, Sri LankaSLA victory
Oddusuddan OffensiveOctober 1999 –
2 November 1999
Oddusuddan, Mullaitivu District800LTTE victory
Battle for the A-9 highway27 March 2000 –
20 April 2000
A-9 Highway, Kilinochchi District20331750LTTE victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (2nd)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves III)
22 April 2000 –
23 April 2000
SLA camp, Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi District204150LTTE victory
Bandaranaike Airport attack24 July 2001Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, Gampaha District714Successful LTTE raid
Cease Fire
December 2001 - 26 July 2006
Battle of Point Pedro12 May 2006Bay of Bengal near Point Pedro, Jaffna District1754SLN victory
Eelam War IV
26 July 2006 –
18 May 2009
Battle of Jaffna11 August 2006 –
29 October 2006
Jaffna Peninsula, Jaffna District300700-1,000Stalemate
Battle of Sampur28 August 2006 –
4 September 2006
Sampoor (Sampur), Trincomalee District33200SLA victory
Attack on Galle Harbour18 October 2006Galle, Galle District191SLN victory
Battle of Thoppigala25 April 2007 –
11 July 2007
Kudumbimalai (Thoppikkal), Batticaloa District48700-800SLA victory
Battle of Point Pedro19 June 2007Bay of Bengal near Point Pedro, Jaffna District40SLN victory
Raid on Anuradhapura AFB22 October 2007SLAF Base, Anuradhapura, Anuradhapura District1420Successful LTTE raid
Battle of Delft25 December 2007Palk Strait near Neduntheevu (Delft) island, Jaffna District4-40Disputed
Battle of Vidattaltivu16 July 2008Vidattaltivu, Mannar District151SLA victory
Battle of Kilinochchi (2nd)23 November 2008 –
2 January 2009
Kilinochchi, Kilinochchi DistrictSLA victory
Battle of Mullaitivu (2nd)2 January 2009 –
25 January 2009
Mullaitivu, Mullaitivu DistrictSLA victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (3rd)9 January 2009Elephant PassSLA victory
Battle of Chalai2 February 2009 –
6 February 2009
Chalai, Mullaitivu District12SLA victory
Battle of PuthukkudiyirippuPuthukkudiyirippu, Mullaitivu DistrictSLA victory
13 April 2009 –
15 April 2009
Final Battle of the Sri Lankan Civil WarPuthukkudiyirippu, Mullaitivu DistrictSLA victory
GOSL declares victory and end of the war
19 May 2009

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