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Bosnia to mark 24th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide

Bosnia to mark 24th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide
Turkish delegation led by Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu to attend funeral of 33 victims on Thursday

By Talha Ozturk

SARAJEVO, Bosnia Herzegovina (AA) - Bosnia will mark the 24th anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide on Thursday by burying 33 newly identified victims of the genocide in a collective funeral.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from various countries will attend the funeral service and burials.

Among this year's guests will be a Turkish delegation led by Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu as well as onetime Serbian presidential candidate Cedomir Jovanovic.

After this year’s funeral, the number of burials in the cemetery will rise to 6,643.

Osman Cvrk, only 16 when he was killed, will be the youngest victim to be buried this year. Saha Cvrk, the oldest, was 82. She is the only woman to be buried at this year's ceremony.

The remains of the 33 genocide victims were being transported by a truck from the Bosnian city of Visoko to Potocari.

On Tuesday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a procession to commemorate thousands of victims of the genocide.

Erdogan together with Bosnian officials and members of the public prayed for the victims and placed flowers on the truck carrying the bodies of newly identified victims.

Sarajevo locals showed great interest in the president and first lady Emine Erdogan, who took time to chat with them and have their photos taken.

- Commemoration

Elsewhere, hundreds of motorcyclists from across Europe held a procession from the country's capital Sarajevo to Srebrenica to commemorate the victims.

The procession -- with the slogan "Should not be forgotten, should not be" -- passed through Sarajevo’s streets, attracting interest from locals.

More than 300 bicyclists from across the country also gathered in the northern city of Bihac to honor the victims. Also, a group of 10 bicyclists on Monday took off from Austria's capital Vienna.

On Sunday, thousands of people from all over the world set off on a three-day commemorative peace march in the town of Nezuk near the Bosnian city of Tuzla.

More than 6,000 participants traveled about 35 kilometers (22 miles) each day to reach Potocari, spending the nights at designated wooded areas.

During the long walk, they heard details of the genocide and the memories of survivors who took the so-called "Death Road" in their attempt to flee Bosnian Serb forces during the war.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic -- who later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide -- overran the UN zone.

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica people fled into the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.

source: News Feed
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