Serbia is marking the 27th anniversary of Croatian military and police Operation Storm, which started on Aug. 4, 1995, as the Day of Remembrance for the victims and expelled Serbs, whereas Croatia is celebrating its Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.
Serbia is marking Aug. 4, the day when an offensive of the Croatian army and police and Croatian Defense Council units in the areas of Banija, Kordun, Lika and northern Dalmatia, i.e. the then Republic of Serbian Krajina, saw the start of Operation Storm, which led to the exodus of more than 200,000 Serbs from Croatia.
Croatia is celebrating Aug. 5 as a national holiday, the day when Operation Storm ended with the entry of the Croatian army into the almost abandoned city of Knin and the raising of the Croatian flag at the Knin Fortress. That returned the last parts of the territory held by members of Serb military units under Croatian administration. Since 2000, the day has also been marked as Croatian Defenders Day.
Operation Storm is counted among the most cruel cases of ethnic cleansing in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. According to the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration data, during and after Operation Storm more than 200,000 Serbs were expelled, some 1,700 were murdered, while more than 700 are still registered as missing. The data presented by the Veritas Documentation Center show that about three quarters of the killed were over the age of 60, and 551 victims were women.
According to estimates by Croatian NGOs and associations, more than 600 civilians were killed and more than 22,000 houses torched during and after Operation Storm, while around 150,000 Croatian citizens left the country on that occasion, and their return had been systematically made difficult and thwarted for years.