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'For everyone to have peace': Yorkton veteran recounts experience as a peacekeeper in the Balkans

A Canadian Forces veteran in Yorkton is highlighting the important role Canadians have in peacekeeping operations across the globe.

Cpl. Sharm Dursun served for three tours as a peacekeeper from 2000 to 2005 in the Balkans following the Bosnian War.

“For me, to serve Canadians, to serve Canada as a peacekeeper is one of my biggest lifetime achievements I have ever made,” he told CTV News.

During his time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dursun’s role was to keep people safe and help refugees fleeing violence.

The conflict – part of the breakup of Yugoslovia – was marked by intense violence along ethnic lines and waged for three years from 1992 to 1995.

Other conflicts in Kosovo and Macedonia continued into the early 2000's as part of the "Yugoslav Wars."

Nearly 40,000 Canadian peacekeepers served in the Balkans from 1992 until 2007.

A total of 23 service members lost their lives during the deployment, according to Veterans Affairs Canada.

While holding his own service in high regard, Dursun says Remembrance Day is an especially important time for people to pay their respects to those who served in previous global conflicts.

“I do like to appreciate those veterans that came before me, like World War One, World War Two. How did they go through [it]?” he said.

For the last 19 years, Dursun has served with the army reserves in Yorkton.

As a veteran and former peacekeeper, he says people should be thankful to live in a country such as Canada.

“We should be lucky to have a country like Canada, a peaceful place. Whereas others places that don't have that,” Dursun explained.

“That's what we're fighting for. We're fighting for peace. For everyone to have peace.”

On Nov. 14, the Royal Canadian Legion will screen a Remembrance Day film at the Yorkton Public Library to honour the occasion as well as mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Top Stories

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