- Title: KOSOVO: Serbs in Kosovo remember the night NATO started bombing
- Date: 25th March 2008
- Summary: MITROVICA, KOSOVO MARCH 24, 2008) (REUTERS) BRIDGE IN MITROVICA UNMIK POLICE GUARDING THE BRIDGE KOSOVO SERB LEADER MARKO JAKSIC TALKING TO JOURNALIST JAKSIC'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) KOSOVO SERB LEADER MARKO JAKSIC, SAYING: ""Now it's clear. We can see now that the target was to create another Albanian state in the Balkans and all stories about humanitarian disaster proved to be untrue. All that was to create strong Balkans and week Serbia. It's West's geopolitical decision and this is what we have got in fact." VARIOUS OF KFOR SOLDIERS PATROLING MITROVICA (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) VOXPOP: "Nine years after NATO bombardment and following creation of NATO state we have a disaster here because not a single Serb has returned to Kosovo." (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) VOXPOP: "March 24th will remain significant not because NATO intervention started at that day but because it is the beginning of the end of the international law and order." MITROVICA CITY CENTRE
- Embargoed: 9th April 2008 13:00
- Topics: War / Fighting,History
- Reuters ID: LVA1ZFXH0B57YXS8SVVHXMOMJAVC
- Story Text: NATO began bombing strategic targets in Serbia on March 24 1999 and kept it up for 78 days until Slobodan Milosevic agreed to pull his forces from Kosovo and end the killing of Albanian civilians in a counter-insurgency war.
Launching the first war in its history, and mindful of claims it failed to act in Bosnia, the alliance said it would not stand by and watch another bloodbath in the Balkans by Serb forces.
The sustained attacks lasted for 11 weeks, or 78 days, killing between 1,200 and 2,500 people, according to different estimates.
Serbia's official data shows that 1,002 members of the then Yugoslav Army and Serbian Police were killed, along with around 2,500 civilians, including 89 children. 10,000 people were wounded.
NATO's war against Serbia ended on June 10, when the United Nations adopted the still valid Resolution 1244.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations and patrolled by NATO troops since June 11 1999. Its 90 percent Albanian majority declared independence on Feb 17 with Western support.
Kosovo Serb leader Marko Jaksic believes the target of NATO was to create another Albanian state in the Balkans and says "all stories about humanitarian disaster proved to be untrue".
UNHCR data shows that after the arrival of the NATO ground forces in Kosovo province, some 230,000 Serbs and Romas fled to central Serbia, escaping ethnic violence against them perpetrated by Kosovo's Albanians.
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