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A breath of fresh air from the siege of Sarajevo Tunnel of Hope

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A breath of fresh air from the siege of Sarajevo Tunnel of Hope

The Tunnel of Hope, one of the keystones of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s struggle for independence, was completed on July 30, 1993, with intense efforts lasting 4 months and 4 days.

Aliya Izetbegovic, who devoted his life to the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, connected the people to life with the Tunnel of Hope against the Serbs who wanted to destroy them in the Bosnian war .

So why is the Tunnel of Hope, which has been around for 30 years and makes headlines on every anniversary, so important?

The longest siege in history

Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence with a referendum held on March 1, 1992. Serbian troops did not accept this decision and started the longest siege in modern history, the Siege of Sarajevo, on April 5, 1992.

All entrances and exits in the city were closed. In Bosnia, the idea of ​​a tunnel was put forward to give people a breather and access to ammunition and food.

Sarajevo’s communication with the world was established

A house in the Butmir area, located near Mount Igman, was the best location for the entrance of the tunnel.

In 1993, excavations began to unite Dobrinja and Butmir, two regions under the control of the Bosnian army. The tunnel, which was excavated under the Sarajevo Airport runway for 4 months and 4 days, was completed on July 30 after intense efforts.

The floor of the tunnel, which is 800 meters long, 1 meter wide and 160 centimeters high, was supported with wooden blocks and logs. After a while, Sarajevo’s communication with the world was established with the laying of the rails.

“I don’t remember being as happy as the day we met with those on the other side.”

Velid Softic, one of the 300 people working in the tunnel excavation, describes the moment of meeting the Bosnians at the other end of the tunnel as the happiest day of his life:

“I agreed to work as a volunteer and we started digging the tunnel with great excitement. I was 40 years old at that time, I was young. I wasn’t thinking much, the most important thing for us was the opening of this tunnel and establishing connection with other regions and cities. We were working first shift that day. After the tunnel was completely opened, we went out to the other side. “I don’t remember being as happy in my life as the day we dug the tunnel and reunited with those on the other side.”

He saved the lives of 300 thousand people

The tunnel, which was also used by Wise Leader Aliya throughout the war, met the needs of the Bosnians such as weapons, food, diesel and medicine during the siege.

The “Tunnel of Hope”, one of the symbols of the Bosnian War, during which the greatest massacres in Europe took place after the Second World War, saved the lives of approximately 300 thousand people.

Bosnia and Herzegovina witnessed a bloody war that lasted 3.5 years and left behind genocide, massacres and great suffering.

This tunnel, dug with only shovels and the hearts of a handful of people, enabled aid to be delivered to civilians for 30 months.

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