NEZUK, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Turkish Red Crescent this week will distribute food for people taking part in a Peace March marking the 26th anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.

Starting Friday, the group will offer a mobile catering vehicle at food distribution points for marchers staring off from the town of Nezuk.

Nurdal Durmus, director of the volunteers, told Anadolu Agency that Turkish Red Crescent is a partner of the organization in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We not only accompany the march but also provide catering supplies such as food, meals, and fruits during the journey from our mobile catering vehicles,” Durmus said.

Underlining that they also offer first aid and healthcare services during the march, he said: “Both professionals and volunteers of our Red Crescent and Red Cross family boost awareness by taking part in such events.”

Traditionally, thousands from all over the world come to Nezuk every year to take part in the march.

3-day march for 8,000 genocide victims

Participants will march for three days beginning Thursday and spend nights in designated areas.

The march is expected to conclude at a cemetery in Potocari, a village in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, just northwest of Srebrenica, where a funeral prayer and burial ceremony will be held for victims.

Since 2005, thousands of people have taken part in the Mars Mira, or Peace March, following the same forest path used by Bosniaks when they fled the Srebrenica genocide.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when 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 a state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993, but Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic overran the UN zone. In 2019 Mladic was sentenced to life for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 in the forests.

The bodies of victims were found in 570 different parts of the country.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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