"Yugoslavs waging asymmetric war" blamed for Croatia fires

Croatia's Dalmatia region on the Adriatic Sea coast is affected by wildfires that on Monday evening spread to the town of Split.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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The Split area on Monday (Tanjug/Hina)
The Split area on Monday (Tanjug/Hina)

Canadair water bombers - unable to take off on Monday due to strong winds - are expected to join a large number of firefighters, soldiers and citizens in an effort to contain and extinguish the fires.

Organized football supporter groups from several Croatian towns have also said they would travel to the region to help.

Split Mayor Andro Krstulovic Opara said late on Monday that the worst was over and called on locals not to "self-organize," and leave the job to the professionals.

A number of homes has been lost in the flames, while others have been damaged, along with state-owned facilities and cars. Some residents last night left the affected area of their own accord, and were received in their homes by other residents of Split, the website index.hr is reporting.

Several roads in the vicinity of this town were closed on Monday, the Croatian news agency Hina reported.

"Asymmetric"

And although authorities in Croatia are saying that the cause of the fires is yet to be determined, many Croatians believe they are the work of arsonists.

Retired General Davor Domazet Loso thus voiced his suspicion that the fires have been caused by "Yugoslavs who hate Croatia and Croatians."

He also blamed these Croatia-hating Yugoslavs of waging "asymmetric warfare" against the country, and also Croats in neighboring states:

"The Bay of Kotor (in Montenegro), Herzegovina, and Dalmatia are on fire. That cannot be a coincidence. And right at a time when according to forecasts, one was to know that a gale has been blowing for four days," said Loso.

Citizens, meanwhile, think that the fires have been started on purpose because they broke out in about 20 places within several hours. But Croatia's firefighting services urge caution, and explain that only an investigation can determine the cause.

The Split-based daily Slobodna Dalmacija writes that despite these suspicions prompted by the wildfire's multiple sources, a number of natural phenomena could have been the cause of the "cataclysmic blaze." Firefighting commander Drazen Glavin offered one - saying that he was an eyewitness to the fire "literally jumping from place to place."

"The blaze was so strong that we saw the smoke burning on several occasions. Under such circumstances, a fire can literally spread by air, carried by strong winds, and cause fires in another location within several seconds. It's clear that people will then think of arson, but that doesn't have to be the case. Of course, that's just one possible explanation, the final verdict will be given by the police investigation, and that's the only relevant thing," Glavina concluded.

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