TIMELINES: NATO’s first ever military action is the enforcement of a no-fly zone where Feb. 28, 1994?

February 28, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012


Feb. 28, 1994, NATO engages in military action for the first time since its establishment in 1949 when U.S. jetfighters shoot down four Serbian warplanes violating the no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina. In April 1993, NATO initiates operation “Deny Flight,” enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 declaring a no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian war rages for over three years and is Europe’s bloodiest war since World War II. In 1995, after signing the Dayton Accords to officially end the war, NATO’s mandate evolves into a peacekeeping mission to stabilize the region and enforce the provisions of the accord. NATO deploys a multinational force of 60,000 troops to Bosnia.


Today, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is hoping to fulfill the last remaining conditions needed to apply for membership in the European Union by the end of June. The country had been stuck in a political deadlock for over a year after elections in October 2010 with Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaders unable to form a government, thus stalling its bid to join the EU. Last December, an agreement was reached and the new central government is now attempting to pass the final hurdle: harmonizing the country’s constitution with European human rights standards.