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Bosnia 1991 to 1998
To learn about the Balkans conflict, scroll down below.
To focus on an individual republic within the region, click on an icon above.

  Slovenia and Croatia and later the Muslim government of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared their independence. Bosnian Serbs threatened violence if the government split from the Yugoslav federation.

Ethnic Serbs attacked Muslim towns and declared their own independent republic within Bosnia by April. The ensuing war engaged Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats and became one of the bloodiest conflicts in European history since WWII.

The Bosnian war pulled in Croatia, which agreed on an alliance with the Muslim-led Bosnian government of President Alija Izetbegovic to fight against Serb separatists.

The United Nations imposed a no-fly zone over Bosnia.

  Muslim enclaves of Sarajevo, Bihac, Srebrenica, Gorazde, Tuzla and Zepa were declared "safe areas" under U.N. protection. Shelling, however, continued in most of these enclaves.

Peace efforts suffered a setback when a mortar shell landed in an open-air market in Sarajevo, killing 68 and wounding more than 200. The shelling, the bloodiest single attack since the Bosnian war began, prompted threats of airstrikes by the United States and its NATO allies.

Muslim-led government of Bosnia, Bosnian Croats and the government of Croatia agreed to a Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia.

On the brink of a NATO-imposed deadline for their withdrawal, Bosnian Serbs withdrew from the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, a strategic crossroads whose capture would have allowed the Serbs to link to neighboring territories captured earlier in the war.

Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-Croat federation signed a cease-fire that allowed a four-month cessation of hostilities.

Serb forces overran the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, ambushed refugees fleeing from the town and killed hundreds of them at a time, burying the bodies in huge pits.

U.N.-declared safe areas in Bosnia fell to Serb forces, NATO began a month-long bombing campaign against Bosnian-Serb forces.

The presidents of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia initialed a U.S.-sponsored peace settlement for Bosnia in Dayton, Ohio, which promised to end the fratricidal war and created two autonomous entities: a Muslim-Croat federation of Bosnia and a Bosnian Serb entity.

Muslim Alija Izetbegovic is elected chairman of Bosnia's three-person collective presidency. Izetbegovic and Momcilo Krajisnik representing the Serbs and Kresimir Zubak of the Croats hold their first meeting in October.

President Clinton announced he would keep U.S. forces – part of the 32,000-strong international peacekeeping force – in Bosnia past a June 1998 deadline and into the indefinite future.

Ultranationalist Serb Nikola Poplasen defeated Biljana Plavsic, the Western-backed incumbent, in Bosnia's elections. Voters went to the polls to elect the three-member state presidency – representing Serb, Croat and Muslim ethnic groups – along with the president and vice president of the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia and members of state and regional parliaments.

The northern Bosnian town of Brcko will become a neutral community under international supervision, rather than part of the Bosnian Serb Republic. The ruling by an international panel settled the last territorial issue left unresolved by the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, but it triggered a political crisis.

© 2000 The Washington Post Company

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