Major developments in Sri Lanka's conflict:

— 1975: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group forms. The group demands a separate state for minority ethnic Tamils in the island's north and east.

— July 1983: Tamil Tiger ambush army patrol in Jaffna, killing 13 soldiers and sparking anti-Tamil riots in which an estimated 300-600 people die. The civil war begins.

— July 5, 1987: Rebel attacker known as Capt. Miller drives a truckload of explosives into an army camp in the Jaffna peninsula, killing himself and 40 soldiers in the rebels' first suicide attack. Though groups in Lebanon used suicide bombings years earlier, the rebels would become infamous for perfecting such attacks.

— July 1987: India and Sri Lanka sign pact to end Tamil separatism. India sends peacekeeping troops who ended up fighting the rebels.

— March 1990: Indian troops withdraw.

— 1991: Tamil Tiger suicide bomber assassinates India's then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, apparently in revenge for sending Indian peacekeepers.

— 1993: A rebel suicide bomber kills Sri Lanka's President Ranasinghe Premadasa after his government's failed peace efforts.

— 1995: Sri Lankan forces capture Tamil rebels' cultural capital of Jaffna.

— July 1996: Rebels overrun army camp in northeastern town of Mullativu, killing 1,200 troops.

— October 1997: United States bans LTTE.

— January 1998: Tamil Tigers bomb Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of Tooth Relic, in Kandy, killing 17 people.

— July 2001: Rebels attack main air base and only international airport in Sri Lanka, destroying 13 aircraft and leaving at least 12 dead

— February 2002: Sri Lankan government signs a cease-fire agreement with Tamil Tigers.

— August 2005: Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an ethnic Tamil who opposed a separate state for the minority, is assassinated. Tamil Tigers are blamed.

— November 2005: Hard-liner Mahinda Rajapaksa elected president.

— December 2005: Rebels launch first major attack since truce, killing at least 12 Sri Lankan navy sailors.

— June 8, 2006: Talks in Norway begin, aimed at restoring peace collapse.

— July 20, 2006: Rebels close sluice gates of an eastern reservoir, cutting water to more than 60,000 people. In response government launches offensive to crush the Tigers.

— July 11, 2007: Government announces ouster of rebels from eastern Sri Lanka

— Nov. 2, 2007: Tamil Tigers' political wing head S.P. Thamilselvan, believed to be the second-in-command of the group, killed in a government air raid.

— Jan. 16, 2008: Sri Lanka officially withdraws from cease-fire deal.

— Jan. 2, 2009: Military captures the Tamil Tigers' de facto capital, Kilinochchi.

— Jan. 25, 2009: Government captures rebels last major stronghold of Mullaittivu.

— May 18, 2009: Government says it has captured the last rebel-held land and killed rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, his top deputies and his son Charles Anthony.