Karadzic tells troops to fight to the last

CHRISTOPHER BELLAMY

Defence Correspondent

The Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, yesterday called on his military commander in the encircled town of Drvar, western Bosnia, to defend it "at all costs", as the Serbs reeled under the double blow of Croat attacks in western Bosnia and the threat of an offensive north from the city of Dubrovnik.

The movement of at least 4,000 Croatian troops into the Dubrovnik area, to push the Bosnian Serbs out of artillery range of the historic Croatian city, and the Bosnian Croat push towards Drvar are connected politically rather than strategically, military sources and western diplomats believe.

There appears to be no unifying strategic plan, although both capitalise on the confusion and loss of morale among the Bosnian Serbs following the unexpectedly swift recapture of the Krajina region by the Croatians.

Croatian forces were yesterday in position for an attack northwards from Dubrovnik, to drive Bosnian Serbs out of artillery range of the "Pearl of the Adriatic", although there were unconfirmed indications that the Serbs had begun to withdraw anyway.

If a big attack takes place, it may go down in history as one of the few campaigns in the history of war motivated by a desire to reinvigorate the tourist industry.

But the United Nations believes there is more to it than that.

The town of Trebinje, just inland and under Bosnian Serb control, is understood to have been included in the US peace plan as one of the areas to be handed to the Bosnian Croats in exchange for Bosnian Serb rights of access to the Adriatic. It also houses an important power station, which would feed Dubrovnik, and lies on the junction of roads leading north into Bosnia.

Most of the Serb artillery that is threatening Dubrovnik is based in the Trebinje area. The Croatian Puma brigade was reported to be in the Dubrovnik area and there were also unconfirmed reports that the 1st Guards Tiger brigade was in Split.

On Tuesday sources counted 68 Croatian army vehicles heading for Dubrovnik past the Dalma warehouse, south-east of Split, and 43 coaches south of Makarska, which are able to transport up to 2,400 troops. UN sources said that the coaches had been carrying part of the Puma Brigade, and that 1,500 troops of the 4th Brigade, which is based in Split, had also moved to Dubrovnik.

The Bosnian Serbs north of Dubrovnik have guns with a range of more than 20km (12 miles), so the Croatian army will need to push them back from their present positions about 12km from Dubrovnik, north of Trebinje and the valley called Popovo Polje, probably seizing the next range of hills.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss