The Siege of Mostar 1992

Mostar

The Siege of Mostar occurred in 1992 and 1993 during the Bosnian war. Mostar was surrounded by Croat forces for nine months in the siege that saw much of the historic city of Mostar damaged by shelling. Most iconic, the famous Stari Most bridge.

In March 1991 Croatian President Franjo Tudjman met Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in Karadordevo to discuss the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. By November 1991, an autonomous Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosnia had been established, with Mate Boban as President. The aim was not for independence, but rather self-administration, respecting the Bosnian government.  Karadzic and Boban met again in May 1992, without a Bosnian Muslim representative to formulate a ceasefire agreement and regarding the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the agreement failed to include Mostar. Bosnian Serbs believed that eastern Mostar belonged to the Serbian administration and Bosnian Croats believed that Mostar in its entirety should belong to the Croatian administration.

In April 1992 fighting broke out in Herzegovina. The Yugoslav People’s Army shelled Mostar and its suburbs regularly and eventually they established control over large areas of the city. The fighting ended in June 1992 after the success of Operation Jackal by the Croatian Army. The high grounds surrounding Mostar on the eastern bank of the Neretva was taken over by Croatian forces and eventually they started to take control of Mostar. Boban dismissed Bosnian Muslims from their day to day lives and erected roadblocks around the city. The freedom of movement for the Bosnian Muslims was limited both inside and outside Mostar.

During the first siege of Mostar in 1992 around 90,000 residents of the city fled. The religious buildings, cultural institutions and bridges were severely damaged or destroyed entirely by shelling. All of the bridges in Mostar were destroyed, leaving the Stari Most bridge as the only remaining river crossing.

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