1.May 2019. marks the 24. anniversary of the beginning of Croatian military operation “Flash”, in which, according to the data of the Documentary-informative centre “Veritas”, 283 Serbs from Western Slavonia have been killed, and at least 15,000 people were expelled and their property was looted, stormed and seized.
Serbian houses, land and real estate in the first place have been grabbed by Croats.
Among the murdered Serbs, there were 57 women and 9 children. According to the data of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, between 83 and 100 Serbian civilians were massacred and both NGOs point out that none of the Croats was trialled for the war crimes in the operation “Flash”.
According to the data from “Human Rights Watch”, after the “Flash” 1,500 Serbs were arrested, and many of them were taken to detention camps in Varazdin, Slavonska Pozega, Nova Gradiska and Bjelovar.
It was the Serbian area of Western Slavonia, which was an integral part of the Republic of Serbian Krajina and under the protection of UN / Sector “West” / that the Croatian armed forces launched the aggression.
The UN forces simply withdrew and left the Serb population to the mercy of the Croatian units.
The Serbs of Western Slavonia started then escaping in order to save their lives. That was an exodus, and on their way to the “bridge of salvation” across the Sava River, which leads to the Republic of Srpska, columns of Serb refugees were shelled and bombed by the Croatian aircraft bombs, helicopters, gun cannons and snipers.
Members of the Croatian Army carried out an attack on the Okucani-Stara Gradiska road near the village of Nova Varoš with the aim of intersecting a refugee column in which the Serb civilian population of Western Slavonia was moving.
Croatian forces shelled the refugee column and showered them with bombs / they will do the same a few months later in the operation “Storm” / ethnic cleansing which finished off their aim – the genocide of Serbs.
They were relentlessly killing the population in the column, which consisted of women, children and the elderly. They were fleeing from their homes in cars, tractors, horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, on foot …
Scattered corpses, dismembered bodies of women, children and elderly people, overturned tractors, horse harnesses and things – scenes that were visible on 2. May 1995. near Nova Varos, along the main road Okučani- Stara Gradiška-Gradiška.
Due to the anniversary of the “Flash”, there will be a memorial service in the Church of Saint Mark in Belgrade, on the May 1, at 11 o’clock. Near the temple, on the commemorative plaque, the Association of the families of the missing “Tear” will lay flowers and wreaths for the Serbian victims.
In Gradiska, in Republic Srpska, where most of the refugees from west Slavonia lives, people will toss flowers from the Bridge of salvation and wreaths in Sava river, and in the church of the Holy Virgin in the city will be memorial service.