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List of military operations of the Sri Lankan Civil War


List of military operations of the Sri Lankan Civil War

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 Army 1
    • Eelam War I (1976-1987) 1.1
    • IPKF intervention 1.2
    • Eelam War II (1990-1995) 1.3
    • Eelam War III (1995-2002) 1.4
    • Eelam War IV (2006-2009) 1.5
      • Eastern Theater 1.5.1
      • Northern Theater 1.5.2
  • Major Battles 2

Major combat operations of the Sri Lankan Army

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

Eelam War I (1976-1987)

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Vadamarachchi Operation

IPKF intervention

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

Eelam War II (1990-1995)

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

Eelam War III (1995-2002)

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)

Eastern Theater

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
Operations in Thoppigala area

Northern Theater

Operation Name Date Location Purpose/Result
2008 SLA Northern offensive

Major Battles

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.

Battle Date Location Deaths Result
IPKF Civilians
Eelam War I
23 July 1983 –
29 July 1987
Kokkilai Offensive 13 February 1985 SLA camp, Kokkilai, Mullaitivu District 4-100 16 LTTE victory
Vadamarachchi Operation
(aka Operation Liberation)
26 May 1987 - June 1987 Vadamarachchi, Jaffna District 689 631 Partial SLA victory,
Operation Poomalai
Operation Poomalai 4 June 1987 Jaffna, Jaffna District Indian intervention
Cease Fire
29 July 1987 - October 1987
Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan Civil War
October 1987 - 24 March 1990
Operation Pawan 11 October 1987 –
25 October 1987
Jaffna, Jaffna District ? 214 IPKF victory
Operation Trishul April 1988 Northern Province
Operation Viraat April 1988 Northern Province IPKF victory
Operation Checkmate June 1988 Vadamarachi, Northern Province IPKF victory
Jaffna University Helidrop 12 October 1988 Jaffna, Jaffna District LTTE victory
Eelam War II
10 June 1990 –
9 January 1995
Battle of Kokavil 27 June 1990 –
11 July 1990
SLA camp, Kokavil, Kilinochchi District 69 LTTE victory
Operation Sea Breeze SLA victory
Operation Thrividha Balaya SLA victory
Operation Balavegaya
(aka Operation Power Force)
14 July 1991 –
9 August 1991
Jaffna, Jaffna District 202-400 573-1,000+ SLA victory
Operation Sathbala SLA victory
Operation Balavegaya II SLA victory
Welioya 2 330 SLA victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (1st) 10 July 1991 –
9 August 1991
SLA camp, Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi District 202-400 573-1,000 SLA victory
Battle of Pooneryn 11 November 1993 –
12 November 1993
Pooneryn (Poonakari), Kilinochchi District 441 469 Both 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 District 500 2,000 SLA victory
Battle of Mullaitivu (1st)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves)
18 July 1996 –
25 July 1996
Mullaitivu, Mullaitivu District 1,242 332 LTTE victory
Operation Sath Jaya 26 July 1996 –
3 October 1996
Elephant Pass and Kilinochchi ≈ 500 121 SLA victory
Vavunathivu Offensive 7 March 1997 SLA camp, Vavunathivu, Batticaloa District 75 103 LTTE victory
Operation Jayasikurui 13 May 1997 - 1999 Sri Lanka 1,350 3,614 SLA victory
* Thandikulam–Omanthai offensive 10 June 1997 –
25 June 1997
Thandikulam & Omanthai, Vavuniya District 700 165 LTTE victory
Battle of Kilinochchi (1st)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves II)
27 September 1998 –
29 September 1998
Kilinochchi, Kilinochchi District 443 520 LTTE victory
Operation Rana Gosa 4 March, 1999 –
Northern Province, Sri Lanka SLA victory
Oddusuddan Offensive October 1999 –
2 November 1999
Oddusuddan, Mullaitivu District 800 LTTE victory
Battle for the A-9 highway 27 March 2000 –
20 April 2000
A-9 Highway, Kilinochchi District 203 317 50 LTTE victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (2nd)
(aka Operation Unceasing Waves III)
22 April 2000 –
23 April 2000
SLA camp, Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi District 204 150 LTTE victory
Bandaranaike Airport attack 24 July 2001 Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, Gampaha District 7 14 Successful LTTE raid
Cease Fire
December 2001 - 26 July 2006
Battle of Point Pedro 12 May 2006 Bay of Bengal near Point Pedro, Jaffna District 17 54 SLN victory
Eelam War IV
26 July 2006 –
18 May 2009
Battle of Jaffna 11 August 2006 –
29 October 2006
Jaffna Peninsula, Jaffna District 300 700-1,000 Stalemate
Battle of Sampur 28 August 2006 –
4 September 2006
Sampoor (Sampur), Trincomalee District 33 200 SLA victory
Attack on Galle Harbour 18 October 2006 Galle, Galle District 1 9 1 SLN victory
Battle of Thoppigala 25 April 2007 –
11 July 2007
Kudumbimalai (Thoppikkal), Batticaloa District 48 700-800 SLA victory
Battle of Point Pedro 19 June 2007 Bay of Bengal near Point Pedro, Jaffna District 40 SLN victory
Raid on Anuradhapura AFB 22 October 2007 SLAF Base, Anuradhapura, Anuradhapura District 14 20 Successful LTTE raid
Battle of Delft 25 December 2007 Palk Strait near Neduntheevu (Delft) island, Jaffna District 4-40 Disputed
Battle of Vidattaltivu 16 July 2008 Vidattaltivu, Mannar District 1 51 SLA victory
Battle of Kilinochchi (2nd) 23 November 2008 –
2 January 2009
Kilinochchi, Kilinochchi District SLA victory
Battle of Mullaitivu (2nd) 2 January 2009 –
25 January 2009
Mullaitivu, Mullaitivu District SLA victory
Battle of Elephant Pass (3rd) 9 January 2009 Elephant Pass SLA victory
Battle of Chalai 2 February 2009 –
6 February 2009
Chalai, Mullaitivu District 12 SLA victory
Battle of Puthukkudiyirippu Puthukkudiyirippu, Mullaitivu District SLA victory
13 April 2009 –
15 April 2009
Final Battle of the Sri Lankan Civil War Puthukkudiyirippu, Mullaitivu District SLA victory
GOSL declares victory and end of the war
19 May 2009
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