The number of civilians escaping from LTTE-held areas in the embattled north was the record largest in a single day, the spokesman said, adding "More are expected to cross the battle lines."
The government had on Monday issued a final 24-hour ultimatum for the cornered Tiger rebels to surrender or face an 'all out' final assault. The Lankan authorities claimed that the Tamil Tigers are on the verge of total collapse after waging a rebellion for 25 years.
Image: In this photograph released by the Sri Lankan military on April 20, thousands of people are fleeing an area controlled by the Tamil Tigers, in north-eastern Sri Lanka.
Photograph: Sri Lankan government/Handout/Reuters
Also see: 'The LTTE is finished militarily'