18:42 / 21.01.2023.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Croatia marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Maslenica

Retired General Ante Gotovina

Retired General Ante Gotovina

Foto: Sime Zelic / PIXSELL

A commemoration marking the thirtieth anniversary of Operation Maslenica was held in Zadar on Saturday. Launched on January 22nd of 1993, Operation Maslenica was a Croatian Army offensive that liberated some 100 square kilometers of Serb occupied territory in northern Dalmatia and Lika in a mere 72 hours.

The military objective was to push rebel Serb and Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) forces back from their approaches to Zadar, Maslenica and Karlobag, and allowing a secure land route between Dalmatia and northern Croatia. A tactical success, Operation Maslenica was one of the key turning points in the Homeland War and also marked the first time that all three branches of the Croatian Army, land, air and sea forces, were engaged in an operation. Homeland War volunteer Tomislav Božić was 25 years old at the time: “We were burning with desire to return Croatia to Croatian control, and to free ourselves from the Chetnik Serbs who were burning and destroying houses and killing our people.”

The victory was not without its casualties, with 127 Croatian soldiers and police giving their lives for Croatian independence during and in the immediate aftermath of Operation Maslenica. Deputy Prime Minister and Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved: “The Croatian people remember Operation Maslenica and the courage of Croatian defenders. That is why we are here today, to show our thanks to all Croatian defenders.”

Retired General Ante Gotovina was one of the commanders of Operation Maslenica: “Unity was the strength behind all of our victories. Let us continue to build and develop our society and our homeland with optimism. Let us strive to have good relations with all people, on the basis of truth in mutual respect.”

General Gotovina continued by quoting the words of President Franjo Tuđman: “the victor who does not know how to forgive sows the seeds of new discord and future evils,” adding that “to forgive, but not forget” is the very foundation of our Christian faith.

For his part Prime Minister Andrej Plenković noted that Croatia's defense against the Serb and Yugoslav People's Army war of aggression was an unbelievable accomplishment that cannot be compared to the war in Ukraine, where the West – including Croatia - is providing massive financial and military support.

Source: HRT

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