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Civilians bore the brunt of 1,425-day Sarajevo siege

An average of 329 mortar shells per day claimed over 11,000 lives in Bosnian capital, according to estimates

Originally published by Anadolu Agency on February 4, 2023

BELGRADE / SARAJEVO - Thousands of civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina were a target of countless massacres during the siege of Sarajevo amid the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.

Sarajevo was exposed to daily bombings and mortar attacks by Bosnian Serb troops for 1,425 days.

Shoppers in markets, people waiting in the queue for bread, children playing in schoolyards – civilians, no matter who they were or what they did – were targeted indiscriminately.

The bloodiest massacres took place in the Markale marketplace, whose 29th anniversary will be marked on Sunday.

The bombardment on Feb. 5, 1994, took the lives of 68 people and injured nearly 150.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 28, 1995, a second mortar exploded in the main market square, killing 43 people and injuring 75.

Victims everywhere

Besides the Markale massacres, thousands of civilians trying to meet their daily needs in the besieged capital became victims to the attacks.

On June 26, 1993, as many as seven children, who were playing on the Bakareva street in Bistrik district, were killed in firing from mountains where Serb forces were stationed.

While many perished in attacks on streets in the Dobrinja 3 district, others died when mortar shells hit funerals.

On May 27 in 1992, civilians were hit with mortar shells when they were waiting in queues to get free bread on the Vase Miskina street in Ferhadija district. Twenty-six people were killed, and 108 others hurt.

Residents on the Halaci street in the historical Ottoman bazaar Bascarsija were also among the victims of mortar shells. On Aug. 23 in 1992, eight people died and three others were injured here.

An average of 329 mortar attacks daily

During the nearly four-year siege, 11,541 civilians, 1,601 of whom were children, were killed, while more than 50,000 were injured, records show.

According to estimates, an average of 329 mortar shells were fired on Sarajevo every day, with more than 500,000 bombs dropped in total.

Historical and cultural artifacts and infrastructure of Sarajevo, which has hosted many civilizations throughout history, were also damaged during the prolonged blockade.

Buildings in Sarajevo still carry the traces of the pogrom, and the places where people lost their lives in the bombardments are known as the "Sarajevo Rose," and marked with a red sign.

The Boljakov Potok area in Sarajevo's Novi Grad municipality was targeted by howitzers on Sept. 28, 1992. The mortar shell that hit the Bosniak civilians gathered for funeral prayers killed nine and seriously wounded 20 others.

Similarly, 11 civilians fell victim to artillery weapons on Aug. 30, 1992 at the marketplace in Alipasino Polje.

Six children lost their lives in the same vicinity when on June 22, 1994 they were hit by three mortar shells.

Anadolu Agency © 2023

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