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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Croats Join Moslems in New Action

SARAJEVO -- Serb forces in central Bosnia were squeezed on two fronts Wednesday by government troops advancing from the east and their Croat allies pushing up from the south, a UN official said.


The fight for Kupres, in south-central Bosnia, was only one of three offensives of the Moslem-led government, but significant for its apparent coordination with Bosnian Croat forces.


Bosnia's majority Moslems and Croats formed a federation, under U.S. auspices, last March, but until now the Croats had not joined in a coordinated military action against the Bosnian Serbs.


Paul Risley, a United Nations spokesman in Zagreb, Croatia, said government troops had made "significant gains" in heavy ground fighting overnight on the road between Serb-held Kupres and Moslem-held Bugojno, to the east.


At the same time, the Croatian news agency HINA reported that Bosnian Croats had "liberated" several Serb-held villages in their overnight march north toward Kupres from their base at Tomislavgrad, and had Serb forces surrounded in another.


UN officials Tuesday reported a heavy buildup of Croat forces in the Tomislavgrad area and said it appeared to presage a coordinated Moslem-Croat action in Kupres.


Reliable government sources said the commanders of the mostly Moslem Bosnian government army and of the Bosnian Croat militia were to meet Wednesday to plan further cooperation.


Entry of the Croat militia in support of the Moslem-led army would give them an overwhelming manpower advantage over the Serbs, and could accelerate an already dramatic shift of momentum.


The long-outgunned Bosnians, over the last nine days, have achieved their biggest territorial gains since war began in April 1992. The Bosnians have also advanced in their offensive just south of Sarajevo and in the northwest, where government troops captured at least 250 square kilometers (100 square miles) in seven days.