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UN Convoy Relieves Siege on Bosnia Town

Srebrenica is one of only two pockets of Muslim Slav resistance left along the border with Serbia

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THE majestic hills enfolding this backwater town have become the walls of a giant prison, its inmates tens of thousands of Muslim Slavs who have been bombed and starved for almost eight months by encircling Serbian forces.

The plight of Srebrenica became known only Saturday when a United Nations convoy succeeded in delivering the first humanitarian aid since the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina erupted in late March. The growl of the Ukrainian UN armored escorts released a wave of pent-up emotions as thousands of people poured onto roadsides to greet the 18 supply trucks grinding past hundreds of homes destroyed by Serbian shellfire or pitted by shrapnel.

Haggard men and women wept or laughed as combat-hardened militiamen unleashed celebratory gunfire. Children jostled for rations tossed from the trucks by Belgian Army drivers.

"It is a very emotional experience. Tears came to my eyes for the first time in years," said Laurens Jolles, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) convoy leader, as workers began unloading 137 tons of food and clothing.

"You are the first people we have seen in eight months," exclaimed Hassan Dzenanovic, a soldier who was one of the first people to meet the convoy after it crossed a 600-yard "no-man's land" of shell-torn homes from the Serb-held town of Bratunac.

"There is no electricity, no water, and no food. People are beginning to die of hunger. But we will fight and we will not surrender," Mr. Dzenanovic says.

Srebrenica is one of only two pockets of Muslim Slav resistance left in the Drina River region, the boundary between eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, and the first target of the Serbian conquest that sparked the war.


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