NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch urged Sri Lanka Friday to stop artillery attacks "against civilians."
In a 45-page report, the human rights organization said civilian casualities had skyrocketed this year in the fighting between government forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers.
"This 'war' against civilians must stop," said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. "Sri Lankan forces are shelling hospitals and so-called safe zones and slaughtering the civilians there."
Human Rights Watch also called on the rebels to allow civilians to leave the war zone, to stop shooting at those who try to flee to government-controlled territory and to keep troops out of populated areas.