Croatian War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Saturday that the Operation Maslenica in 1993 was a turning point in the Homeland War and that it had sent a strong message of the capability of the Croatian armed forces to free their country from the enemy.
Addressing the central ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the Operation Maslenica in Zadar, the minister expressed gratitude to the participants in the operation and particularly to the families who lost their members in that liberating action.
Operation Maslenica was launched in the early morning hours of 22 January 1993, with Croatian forces regaining control of the Serb-occupied Zadar hinterland, the straight of Maslenica, the Zemunik airbase and later on the Peruca dam. Within 72 hours, nearly 100 square kilometres of occupied territory was liberated. Croatian forces regained control of key strategic points from Serb insurgents and re-established transport connections between the country's north and south. In the first three days of the operation, 19 Croatian soldiers were killed and 70 were wounded. However, by 31 March 1993 the number of Croatian fatalities rose to 127 as Serb forces fought back.
Minister Medved said that the Operation Maslenica sent a strong message that the Croatian armed forces and police were capable of liberating every occupied inch of the occupied territory, as it was later shown in the military and police operations in 1995.
Medved also pointed out the importance of commemorating this operation and other events from the 1991-1995 Homeland War as a reminder that freedom in the present-day Croatia should not be taken for granted and that the defenders and the Homeland War were the strongest pillar of the independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.
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