Long-lost Sarajevo of 'tolerance and love'

SARAJEVO – Serb troops besieged Sarajevo over two decades ago, killing over 100,000 people and forcing out thousands of others in what was the longest siege of a capital in modern times.

Immediately after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from the former Republic of Yugoslavia in a referendum on March 1, 1992, Bosnian Serb troops besieged the state’s capital on April 6 for 3,5 years (1,425 days).

After 22 years, mass graves are still being discovered and bodies of some of the victims are still to be found.

Bosnian army commander Yovan Divyak expresses nostalgia for a Bosnia hopeful of peace, a Bosnia that he says was lost 22 years ago.

“We are so far removed from aspirations towards a social life full of tolerance and love,” Divyak says. “I wish we could bring back the Sarajevo where the East and the West meet.”

On April 6, 1992 the Bosnian government expected the international community to deploy a peacekeeping force following recognition, but it did not arrive in time to prevent war from breaking out across the country.

Serb military, police and paramilitary forces attacked towns and villages, sometimes were assisted by local Serb residents.

The Bosnian conflict ended in 1995 with the Dayton peace agreement, which stopped the fighting but left the nation strongly divided along ethnic lines, between the Bosnians and Serbs.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency