22 Years Ago, Operation Storm Started

Total Croatia News

On 4 August 1995, Croatia launched a military operation which liberated occupied parts of its territory.

On this day 22 years ago, the Operation Storm began. After four years of occupation, Croatian military and police forces liberated northern Dalmatia, Lika, Banovina and Kordun regions, which effectively marked the end of the Homeland War, reports N1 on thr 4th of August 2017.

On August the 4th, 1995, the Croatian Army and special police units launched an attack on the frontline from Knin in the south to Jasenovac in the north. The frontline was more than 630 kilometres long. At the same time, Croatian forces in eastern Slavonia and southern Dalmatia were put on standby for a possible attack by the Yugoslavian Army and the Army of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but these attacks did not happen.

At the beginning of the operation, the Croatian Air Force destroyed the radio-relay hub Ćelavac and the communication points at Petrova and Zrinska Gora. On the same day, Sveti Rok was liberated, while Knin, the capital of Serbian forces, was surrounded.

The biggest success of the operation was achieved on the morning of the 5th of August, when members of the 4th and 7th Guard Brigades of the Croatian Army liberated Knin, the former centre and symbol of the Serbian rebellion. At exactly noon, a 20-meter Croatian flag was raised at the Knin fortress. In addition to Knin, Gračac, Lovinac, Benkovac, Kijevo, Vrlika, and Dubica were also liberated, and Croatian forces reached the internationally recognised border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On the next day, 6 August, commanders of the 1st Guards Brigade and the 5th Corps of the Bosnian Army, General Marijan Mareković and General Atif Dudaković, met at the border between the two countries. The Operation Storm enabled the Bosnian army to break the Serbian siege of Bihać, thus preventing a new humanitarian disaster and crimes such as the genocide in Srebrenica, where in July 1995 more than 7,000 Bosniaks were killed by members of Serb units led by General Ratko Mladić.

On the same day, Croatian forces liberated Plaško, Lički Osik, Vrhovine, Obrovac, Korenica, Slunj and Plitvice. On 7 August, the end of the Operation Storm in the former sectors North and South was announced.

The surrender of Colonel Čedomir Bulat, commander of the 21st Corps of the “Serb Army of Krajina” in Topusko, marked the end of the operational part of the military-police action and the end of the war on the territory of Croatia, although minor military activities continued.

In just 84 hours, the Croatian military and police forces, which had a total of about 200,000 people, liberated slightly less than 10,500 square kilometers or almost one fifth of the state territory, which also brought the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region into constitutional order of Croatia in 1998. According to data from the Croatian Memorial and Documentary Center of the Homeland War, 196 members of the Armed Forces were killed, at least 1,100 were wounded, and 15 went missing during the operation. The losses on the other side were much higher.

Most of the local Serb population left the area together with their forces which were retreating and just a fraction of them have returned.

In a sign of gratitude to Croatian defenders, 5 August is celebrated as the Day of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, as well as the Day of Croatian Defenders. The 22nd anniversary of the Operation Storm will be officially marked on Friday and Saturday in Knin, with events being organised by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior.

Translated from N1.


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