JANUARY 21 2014 14:23h
A ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of the military and police operation Maslenica that liberated Croatia's territory on the mid-Adriatic coast in the 1990s war, was held in Zadar on Monday and at attendance was Parliament Speaker Josip Leko who underlined that Operation Maslenica changed the course of the Homeland War.
"Operation Maslenica changed the course of the Homeland War, we must build present-day values on it," Leko told the press.
"I am filled with pride, I cannot believe it's been 21 years. This was the first operation in which all components of the Armed Forces took part," he added.
Leko and Veterans' Minister Predrag Matic, local officials and war veterans laid wreaths at the central cross at the Zadar city cemetery.
Maslenica was the first major liberation operation launched by the Croatian military and police, beginning at 6 a.m. on 22 January 1993. Over the next three days, Croatian defenders liberated about 15 villages in the Zadar hinterland as well as several strategic points that were occupied by rebel Serbs. As a result of the operation, the south and north of Croatia were reconnected.
Operation Maslenica was key for the defence of Croatia from the Yugoslav-Serbian military aggression and for the further actions by the Croatian military and police. In its first three days, 19 soldiers and police were killed, while 70 were wounded. Until 31 March 1993, 127 Croatian defenders were killed as a result of the heavy attacks launched by the Serbian aggressors in the operation's aftermath.