Twenty years ago this month, Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić were killed by Serb snipers at a peace rally, and mortar shells started falling on Sarajevo, marking the beginning of the Bosnian War. The conflict erupted in the wake of the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in 1991, pitting the nascent countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia against each other along complicated ethnic and religious lines and leaving an estimated 100,000 people dead. In the three years between when the war officially broke out and when it ended in December 1995, some 200,000 people died, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million people were displaced from their homes. It was the worst mass killings, and genocide, Europe had seen since World War II. Peter Turnley, a contract photographer for Newsweek at the time, captured the people and countries ravaged in the war.
“I have covered war and conflict worldwide over the course of the past 30 years,” Turnley says.
“While all conflicts are tragic, the war in Bosnia seemed to me to be one of the darkest and most profoundly sad conficts I have witnessed—a war among people that have been neighbors for centuries, who have so much in common with each other, yet have had such difficulty forgiving if not forgetting reailites and events of the past in order to live peacefully in the present. I continue to hope for bright, loving, and forgiving light to illuminate the life of this region for the future.”