The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. The city, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was besieged by the Army of Republika Srpska from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 (1,425 days) during the Bosnian War. The siege lasted three times longer than the Battle of Stalingrad and more than a year longer than the Siege of Leningrad.
After Bosnia and Herzegovina had declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Bosnian Serbs—whose goal was to create a new Bosnian Serb state of Republika Srpska that would include parts of Bosnian territory—encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 13,000 stationed in the surrounding hills. From there they assaulted the city with artillery, tanks and small arms. From 2 May 1992, the Serbs blockaded the city.
The second half of 1992 and the first half of 1993 were the height of the siege of Sarajevo. Serb forces outside the city continuously shelled the government defenders. Inside the city, the Serbs controlled most of the major military positions and the supply of arms. With snipers taking up positions in the city, certain particularly dangerous streets were known as “sniper alleys”.
Compared with the siege force, the Bosnian government forces (ARBiH) were very poorly armed. Bosnian black market criminals who joined the army at the outset of the war illegally smuggled arms into the city through Serb lines. The Sarajevo Tunnel, completed in mid-1993 to link Sarajevo with Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport which was controlled by the United Nations, was a major asset in bypassing the international arms embargo. It helped supplies and weaponry reach the city’s defenders, and enabled some inhabitants to leave. The tunnel was said to have saved Sarajevo.
The Serbs were slowly driven back in Sarajevo and a ceasefire was reached in October 1995. On 14 December, the Dayton Agreement brought peace to the country and led to stabilization. The Bosnian government officially declared an end to the siege of Sarajevo on 29 February 1996, when Bosnian Serb forces left positions in and around the city. More than 70,000 Sarajevan Serbs subsequently left the Muslim-controlled districts of the city and moved to the Republika Srpska.
A total of 13,952 people were killed during the siege, including 5,434 civilians. The ARBiH suffered 6,137 fatalities, while Bosnian Serb military casualties numbered 2,241 soldiers killed. After the war, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted two Serb officials for numerous counts of crimes against humanity committed during the siege.
history meme pt. 2 - [4/10 moments] - The Siege of Sarajevo