Siege of Sarajevo lifted 20 years ago

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo in memory of 29 February 1996 when Bosnia and Herzegovina's authorities officially declared an end to the siege after Bosnian Serb forces left their positions in and around the capital.

Although the war, which broke in 1992, was over with the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords at a ceremony in Paris in December 1995, Sarajevo remained under siege for the next three months until the authorities of the Bosniak-Croat Federation officially took control over villages and settlements on the outskirts of Sarajevo which had been taken by Bosnian Serb troops at the outbreak of the war.

On 29 February 1996, the Federation's police entered the municipality of Ilijas, north-east of Sarajevo, removing the blockade of the road running from Sarajevo to the central city of Zenica. This put an end to the siege that had lasted 1425 days. 

Serb paramilitaries, backed by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), laid siege to Sarajevo on 5 April 1992 in response to the declaration of independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Yugoslav federation. The declaration was supported by over 63% of citizens in a referendum held on 29 February and 1 March 1992.

The siege of the Bosnian capital is considered to be the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. During the siege, 14,000 residents, including 1,500 children, were killed in sniper and mortar attacks.

Last update: Mon, 29/02/2016 - 16:58

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