Bosnian Serbs began withdrawing some of their heavy weapons from around Sarajevo on Monday, just minutes after a deadline NATO had set for launching a wave of airstrikes against them.
At 11 p.m. Monday, journalists reported hearing booms and seeing flashes in the Sarajevo sky. Minutes later, U.N. workers in Sarajevo reported a “highly unusual” movement of Serbian weapons toward four collection points in Serb-held areas outside the city.
The movements “appear to signal the Serbs are preparing for withdrawal,” U.N. spokeswoman Myriam Sochacki said in Sarajevo.
Both the United Nations and NATO emphasized that they had launched no new attacks.
But it still was too early to tell whether the weapons movement would be enough, ultimately, to deter NATO fighter jets, which had been poised to resume bombing Serbian ammunition dumps, communication centers and other military sites.
On Sunday, U.N. and NATO leaders had told Bosnian Serb rebels they had until 11 p.m. Monday to show significant progress toward pulling back the guns that have terrorized residents of Sarajevo since 1992.