Western powers are studying the creation of Kurdish-style safe havens for refugees inside former Yugoslavia next winter, according to a senior French military source.

The source also said the use of force might be necessary to destroy artillery positions that threatened refugee zones. Despite the reluctance of most governments, western countries might also be drawn into using force if United Nations peacekeepers came under serious attack, he said.

"It is hard to imagine a military operation because this is a civil war," the source said, noting that the rival Serb, Croat and Muslim forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia areclosely enmeshed. "But if we find ourselves at the start of next winter with a growing number of refugees, we will have to create security zones as we did for the Kurds."

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