The Battle for Novi Travnik

Having routed the HVO forces and secured their objectives in the Travnik area, the ABiH mounted a serious attack against HVO forces in the Novi Travnik area. At 5 a.m. on June 9, the 308th Mountain Brigade from Novi Travnik (some 2,100-3,100 men commanded by Bislim Zurapi), assisted by elements of the 307th Mountain Brigade from Bugojno and the 317th Mountain Brigade from Gornji Vakuf, as well as parts of the El Mudzahid mujahideen group, the "Sosna" private army (about 100 men), a company from the 7th Muslim Motorized Brigade (around 110 men), and MUP elements (about 200 men) attacked the HVO units holding the lines against the BSA south of Travnik between Mravinjak (BM 1393) through Plani (BM 1452) to Kamenjas (BM 1310).50 They captured the existing fortifications facing the BSA and also gained control of the Croat villages of Ruda, Jakovici, and Nokovici; those to the east toward Novi Travnik in the Pecina area; and those to the southeast in the Kovacici area. The Croat inhabitants fled.

The road through Novi Travnik, which was already held in part by the ABiH, was blocked, and heavy fighting ensued in the area on June 10. However, the ABiH failed to take the town in its entirety, and the HVO was subsequently able to establish a defensive line running from the Travnik-Vitez road northwest of the Puticevo intersection through Slimena southwest to Runjavica (BM 683) then south through the middle of Novi Travnik to the village of Zubici.51 The HVO line then continued northeast toward Lazine, then southeast via BM 908 and BM 829 before turning east south of Zaselje to connect with the HVO defenses in Vitez near Gornji Veceriska.

On June 14-15, the ABiH cleared the Croat villages northwest of Novi Travnik toward Travnik, and HVO forces abandoned the remaining portion of their line against the Serbs southwest of Travnik to the ABiH.52 Both HVO

soldiers and Croat civilians were forced across the Serb lines to join the thousands of Croat refugees already in Bosnian Serb hands. They were subsequently permitted to transit BSA-held territory to the north of Zenica and reenter HVO territory in the Kiseljak area.

On June 18, the Muslims mounted an attack on the new Novi Travnik line with elements of the 308th Mountain Brigade and the 1st and 2d Battalions, 17th Krajina Mountain Brigade, supported by other ABiH forces. The battle for the Novi Travnik lines continued into July with the lines changing in only minor ways. The major foci of the ABiH attacks were the HVO salient south of Rastovci toward Zubici, and the important Puticevo intersection—neither of which the Muslims succeeded in taking. Meanwhile, the HVO achieved some minor successes, taking the ABiH salient around the village of Lazine. Some two thousand Muslim attackers were held off by about 150 HVO defenders.

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