The conflict with the Tamil Tigers that has raged in Sri Lanka since 1983 is reaching a bloody end. The rebels, who are backed into a five square mile area, have called for a ceasefire on the ground of "an unprecedented humanitarian crisis." The Sri Lankan military scoffed at the notion, calling anything short of complete surrender "a joke." Observers have suspected a major violation of human rights and the conventions of war by the Sri Lankan government as it seeks to put down the Tamil insurgency once and for all. The U.N. reports that at least 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the war zone, and there are rumors that the government is obstructing aid workers from entering the area. Many of the civilians caught in the conflict are forced into internment camps once they escape, which are described as inadequate and unsanitary. The U.N. estimates that 6,500 civilians have died in the conflict since January.