The Sri Lankan military says it has captured the strategically important northern town of Pooneryn from Tamil Tiger separatists, reported Aljazeera.
After months of heavy fighting in the north, the defence ministry said on Saturday that government forces now controlled the entire western coast of the Indian Ocean island.
"Troops of army Task Force One have entered the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] bastion of Pooneryn this morning [Saturday]," the ministry said in a statement.
"Pitched battles are still going on in the area," it said. "The terrorists are fast withdrawing."
The LTTE had been occupying Pooneryn since it dislodged government troops from the main military base there in November 1993.
There was no immediate comment from the Tamil, but the movement has conceded that many of their fighters had pulled into territory in the north of the country since the middle of last year.
The Tamil Tigers had used the coastal area to launch artillery strikes against a military airbase on the northern edge of the government-controlled Jaffna peninsula.
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said: "We have completely taken over Pooneryn. We have gone up to the town, and control the roads from Pooneryn to Paranthan.
"We didn't find any artillery, because they must have taken those pieces away or hidden them."
In recent months, government-backed forces stepped up their offensive in a bid to capture the town of Kilinochchi, the LTTE's de facto capital, but bad weather and Tamil Tiger resistance has slowed those operations.
The military has stopped releasing its own casualties figures in daily bulletins since last month, but official figures tabled in parliament show that 1,269 troops had died in the first 10 months of this year.
The military claims it has killed more than 7,500 LTTE fighters since they pulled out of a Norwegian-arranged truce in January.
It is impossible to independently confirm casualty figures or details of military opeartions in the north of the island as the area is closed to journalists and the two sides often give widely differing accounts.