After several years of fighting and the deaths of tens of thousands, leaders of the battling forces met on November 1, 1995at the Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, outside Dayton, Ohio, to negotiate a peace settlement. The Dayton Accords were initialed twenty days later, thus effectively bringing about a conditional end to armed hostilities. The accords were reinforced with 15,000 American ground troops, whose introduction assured that the ceasefire would be observed by all sides.
The Bosnian War which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in April 1992. It was part of the break-up of Yugoslavia. The war was between Bosnia Serbs and Bosnian Croats. With the Serbs receiving help from Serbia and the Croats receiving help from Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina held a referendum and voted for independence. The Bosnia Serbs had boycotted the referendum and did not accept the vote. They joined in a militia and with the help of Serbia tried to seize Serbian area. The war spread and became viscous with indiscriminate shelling of towns systematic ethnic cleansing and mass rape. The Serbs committed most of these atrocities. Two the iconic events of the war were the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre.
In February 1992 the United created UNPROFOR to create safe zones for civilians and to protect refugee convoys. The UN also created a no-fly zone over the area. When it was violated, the UN asked for member states to enforce the no-fly zone. Four planes were downed by NATO aircraft as a result of their violation of the no-fly zone when shelling of Sarajevo intensified the UN authorized member states to take action to stop the attack. NATO forces then warned the Serbs that if their firing did not stop their gun emplacement would be destroyed from the air. For a period there was calm but when attacks on Sarajevo resumed the UN launched on August 30, 1995, operation Deliberate Force a concerted air attack on Serbian positions from the air and the ground. The action forced the Serbs to agree to peace talks which took place in Washington, where a framework peace agreement was agreed to. A final peace agreement was worked out with the Dayton Peace Agreement signed on November 21, 1995. The deal included a NATO implementation force of 80,000 troops which the US contributed 15,000.
In an effort to construct a stable political system in the troubled region, elections were held on September 12, 1996; 60-70% of eligible voters cast votes, resulting in a three-headed presidency representing all the major ethnic groups.
While the introduction of American forces did not bring about a permanent peace in Bosnia, it did end the carnage that had gone on for four years. In their first year of deployment in Bosnia, American troops suffered no combat deaths, and were engaged in no active fighting.