The Brutality of the Bosnian War Reflected in These Heartbreaking Photographs

A father’s hands press against the window of a bus carrying his tearful son and wife to safety from the besieged city of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War on November 10, 1992. Getty Images
A disused tank standing at a crossroad in front of a ruined building in the Kovacici district in Sarajevo February 1996. Reuters
A man carrying a bag of firewood across a destroyed bridge near the burnt library in Sarajevo, on January 1, 1994. Reuters
A Bosnian teenager carrying containers of water in front of destroyed trams at Skenderia Square in the besieged Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, on June 22, 1993. Reuters
Refugees from the overrun U.N. safe haven enclave of Srebrenica who had spent the night outdoors, gathering outside the U.N. base at Tuzla airport, on July 14, 1995. AP Photo
Survivors of the Serb attack on Srebrenica learn of the fall of the United Nations safe haven, Tuzla, Bosnia, 1995. More than 7,000 Bosnian men were killed and tens of thousands were forced to flee during the attack.
Ron Haviv / VII
A US F14 tomcat fighter takes off on a patrol over Bosnia, on September 4 from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Reuters
Helicopter pilots in full flying kit on board HMS Invincible during Operation ‘Grapple’, the British military deployment in support of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the UN’s peacekeeping force in Bosnia. Invincible sailed for the Adriatic in July 1993 to relieve HMS Ark Royal and remained in theatre until December. On 20 September 1993, the ship hosted unsuccessful warring parties’ peace talks, involving Thorvald Stoltenborg, the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General. IWM
The arrival of British forces in Bosnia at the start of Operation ‘Grapple’. A column of Warrior armored fighting vehicles belonging to ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, moves up from Split, Croatia through a winter landscape to the UN operating base at Vitez, Bosnia. The Warriors are painted in the high visibility white color scheme identifying UNPROFOR vehicles. The proximity of Serbian forces rendered the main route to Vitez unsafe and the first priority for British troops on deployment was to identify alternative routes through the difficult terrain. IWM
‘Juliet’, the Warrior IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) used by Colonel Bob Stewart, Commander of 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, and first British Commander of UNPROFOR, makes its way cautiously over an unsafe bridge. IWM
Civilians, including children, cluster around a British soldier of 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment at Travnik, Bosnia, shortly after the arrival of British forces in Bosnia at the start of Operation ‘Grapple’. In October 1992, 2,400 British troops deployed to Bosnia and Croatia under Operation Grapple and became operational in November. They were tasked with providing armed escort to United Nations humanitarian aid convoys as part of UNPROFOR. The British forces maintained a headquarters and logistics base at Split but operated mainly in the dangerous area around Vitez, where the UN central depots were based. IWM
View of the market-place at Travnik, Bosnia in November 1992, shortly after the arrival of British forces in Bosnia at the start of Operation ‘Grapple’. Civilians cluster around two Warrior armored fighting vehicles of 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment. IWM
A British soldier, his face muffled against the cold, keeps watch with his assault rifle from the top of a FV432 armored personnel carrier as it moves through the snow-covered landscape during an operation to escort urgently needed convoys of firewood into Sarajevo in early 1993. IWM
Soldiers from ‘B’ Company of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (Rangers) with a Warrior FV510 in the town of Gornji Vakuf, 1993. The town stands at an important crossroads in central Bosnia-Herzegovina and was one of the first attacked by Croatian forces during the Bosnian War, on 20 June 1992. At that time, it was vital for UNPROFOR to hold Gornji Vakuf to enable UNHCR supplies to be transported around Bosnia. On 11 January 1993, major fighting broke out around the town. This included Croatian shelling of the town center, which caused much destruction. IWM
A British FV432 and a Landrover both equipped for medical duties with UNPROFOR in the Vitez area of Bosnia, 1993. Both vehicles are painted in the high visibility white color scheme adopted by UNPROFOR vehicles in Bosnia. IWM
A break in the warfare for a football match between 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment and the local Croat population of Dolac near Travnik, 13 December 1992. The Dolac team won the match 4-3. IWM
A Muslim civilian displays a sniper’s rifle with homemade silencer near Gornji Vakuf, 1993. IWM
A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter of No. 845 Naval Air Squadron (Fleet Air Arm) arrives in Bosnia with supplies, 1993. IWM
A Warrior armored fighting vehicle of 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment drives through the center of Travnik in Bosnia. The market-place is in the background. IWM
UN troops on their way up Sniper Alley in Sarajevo. Wikipedia
Bosnian Muslim women and children refugees, possibly from Srebrenica, arrive in Tuzla, north-east Bosnia, March 1993. IWM
British troops, wearing blue United Nations berets, insignia and identification vests, prepare to board a troop transport aircraft at RAF Brize Norton for Bosnia in early 1993. In the background, a television cameraman films the event. IWM
Casualties arrive by United Nations helicopter at Tuzla Air Base following their evacuation from Srebrenica, March 1993. IWM
Pipe Major Kenny Kerr from Ayrshire plays to some soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers sitting on a Warrior just outside Gornji Vakuf in the run-up to Christmas, 14 December 1994. IWM
Members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers on a combined foot patrol in Novi Travnik in central Bosnia, November 1994. Novi Travnik came under attack at the start of the war from Serbian forces. Later, in 1993, Bosnia-Herzegovina soldiers entered the area and either evicted or killed the local population. IWM
Members of the Royal Engineers helping to rebuild the Stari Bila school, near Vitez, 15 November 1994. At the outbreak of the war, the Vitez area saw local violence between Croats and Muslims, with villages and mosques being damaged. Hostilities flared up again in 1993 when Bosnia-Herzegovina soldiers entered the area, attacking Croats and Muslims. This left severe damage in many communities in the area. IWM
Members of the Household Cavalry Regiment handing out books to the children of a school in Lug, near Prozor, Bosnia on 23 November 1994. Prozor came under attack early in the war and suffered a great loss of life and damage during the conflict. IWM
Troops of the 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers in Jelah, north of Maglaj, central Bosnia, 10 December 1994. A Warrior FV510 can be seen through barbed wire navigating the mud. Maglaj was occupied by Serbian forces early in the war and its Bosnian population especially suffered as a result. IWM
Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers on patrol in Gornji Vakuf, 14 December 1994. IWM
Members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment distributing aid in the village of Glavice, south-east of Bugojno, on 17 December 1994. From the start of the war, Bugojno was shelled by Serbian forces and was a sought-after prize due to it being an industrial center in the region. Serbian forces occupied the area in 1992. As the war progressed, an influx of refugees and the advancement of Muslim and Croat forces escalated the conflict. In the summer of 1993, the Croat and Bosnian forces turned against each other, eventually leading to the defeat and withdrawal of Croat soldiers and civilians from Bugojno, leaving the town in Bosnian control. IWM
A local man acts as the hairdresser for men of ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers, Vitez, 25 December 1994. IWM
Men of ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers on Christmas Day, 25 December 1994. Major David Crumlish has a whiskey with the men at a checkpoint in the Vitez area. IWM
Members of the Royal Engineers on a Boxing Day run in Vitez, 26 December 1994. IWM
A Bosnian Muslim woman cries on the coffin of a relative during a mass funeral for victims killed during 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, whose remains were found in mass graves around the town of Prijedor and Kozarac, 50 km (31 miles) northwest of Banja Luka, on July 20, 2011. Reuters
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, center, stands in the courtroom during his initial appearance at U.N.’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, on July 31, 2008. He faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding atrocities throughout Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. AP Photo
11,541 red chairs line Titova street in Sarajevo as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war, on April 6, 2012. The anniversary finds the Balkan country still deeply divided, power shared between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims in a single state ruled by ethnic quotas and united by the weakest of central governments. Getty Images