On Sunday, Kosovo marked the 20th anniversary of NATO bombings on Serbian forces, which led to the end of a war that lasted almost two years.
The aerial bombing campaign, which lasted 78 days, was used by Serb forces on land to take their revenge on Albanian ethnics. Over 10 thousand people were killed, over 800 thousand were displaced from Kosovo, while 5 thousands others were declared missing after the war.
On June 10, 1999, NATO signed an agreement with the then Yugoslav army for its full retreat from Kosovo, while two days later, KFOR peacekeeping mission entered Kosovo, putting an end to the war and Belgrade’s rule in the country.
Peace keepers from NATO and the UN saw the real scale of the war when confronted with mass graves and the sheer level destruction.
20 years later, the number of NATO forces taking care of the security in Kosovo is 4500 as opposed to 50 thousand in 1999.
President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci on Sunday said that the March 24, 1999 battle marked “a big turning point for freedom and what made this day so glorious was NATO’s intervention 20 years ago. Today we remember with respect and praise the intervention made by the international community”, president Thaci said.
On his part, Kosovo’s PM, Ramush Haradinaj has sent a letter to NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, in which he says that “the people of Kosovo will always be thankful for NATO’s contribution in saving thousands of lives and building peace and stability in Kosovo”. /ibna/