Lankan government forces say they captured more ground Tuesday from Tamil Tiger
rebels who have ignored a deadline to surrender.
The military says it is in the final stages of an operation to eliminate the rebels, who are confined to a small strip of coastal jungle in the northeast.
The presence of tens of thousands of civilians in the area has deterred the army from launching an all-out assault. But Sri Lanka's government says 52,000 civilians have escaped the war zone over the past two days.
The exodus of civilians has done little to ease the concerns of the international community and rights groups.
The International Committee of the Red Cross called the situation "catastrophic," while the United States urged both sides to stop "indiscriminate fire" in the zone.