This report by The Times’ long-standing and much respected defence correspondent gives the lie to the ICTY claim that the attack on Srebrenica was a carefully planned operation to inflict a genocide. There were more than 6,000 well-armed soldiers of the Bosnian Muslim Army (ABiH) in Srebrenica up until the day before it fell. The Bosnian Serb force, by contrast, was potentially outnumbered by 25:1, was short of fuel and ammunition and was exhausted by policing a front line many hundreds of miles long.
The Times, 14 July 1995
Muslim soldiers ‘failed to defend town from Serbs’
By Michael Evans, Defence Correspondent
THE Muslim defenders of Srebrenica put up only a brief fight against theSerbs, and their commanders left the night before the Serb tanks entered the town, according to Western intelligence sources yesterday.
The abandonment of Srebrenica to a relatively small Serb advancing force caused surprise in the West, especially after the largely Muslim government army had demonstrated considerable infantry skills in recent attacks..
There were reports that up to 1,500 Serbs were involved in the assaulton Srebrenica, but intelligence sources estimated the main attack wascarried out by a force of about 200, with five tanks. “It was a pretty low-level operation, but for some reason which we can’t understand the BiH (government) soldiers didn’t put up much of a fight,” one source said.
Srebrenica was officially demilitarised on April 17, 1993, but thegovernment soldiers were not short of weapons. Before the Serb advance on the town, the Muslims had been shelling Serb units along the main road to the south. The intelligence sources said it was that harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave.
However, the advance into the town was seen by intelligence assessors asan opportunist move. “I don’t think the Serbs had predicted the timingof this operation,” one source said. The apparent decision by the Muslims to abandon the town provided the Serbs with a sudden opportunityto occupy Srebrenica, bypassing the Dutch on the road a mile south ofthe town.
The intelligence source said: “The BiH just melted away from Srebrenicaand the senior officers left the night before.” The source said theMuslim defenders were “adequately armed” for street-fighting.