ZAGREB, Aug 5, 2020 – The Croatian state leadership will be in Knin on Wednesday to celebrate Victory Day, Homeland Thanksgiving Day, Croatian Veterans Day and the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm.
Operation Storm was a combined military and police operation that ended a Serb armed insurgency in August 1995 and restored Croatian sovereignty over occupied central and southern parts of the country, paving the way for the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998.
The offensive was launched at 5 am on August 4 along the line running from Bosansko Grahovo to the south to Jasenovac to the east, the front line being more than 630 kilometres long. Within the next 84 hours slightly less than 10,500 square kilometres of territory, almost a fifth of the country, was liberated.
The operation culminated on August 5, when the Croatian Army’s 4th and 7th Guard Brigades liberated Knin, the heart of the Serb rebellion, displaying a 20-metre-long Croatian flag on the town’s fortress at noon.
About 200,000 Croatian soldiers and police took part in the biggest operation of the Homeland War. According to the Homeland War Memorial and Documentation Centre, 196 Croatian personnel were killed, at least 1,100 were wounded and 15 went missing, while losses among Serb forces were several times higher.
The Serb National Council has said that during and after Operation Storm 200,000 Serbs were displaced from Croatia and nearly 2,000 were killed. The Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights has reported 677 civilian casualties and 20,000 damaged properties in the area liberated by Operation Storm, while the Documenta NGO put the number of civilian casualties below 677.
Operation Storm marked the end of the war in Croatia, created conditions for the peaceful reintegration of the eastern Danube River region, helped break the siege of the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac, and enabled the return of refugees and displaced persons.