In late March, 1999, NATO began bombing targets in Yugoslavia, demanding that Serbian troops pull out of the province of Kosovo. But Serbian police and Yugoslav Army forces proved more steadfast than most has anticipated, and what many thought would be a quick weekend of airstrikes mutated into a intense 11-week bombing campaign. During the bombing, enraged Serbian troops brutally expelled over 800,000 ethnic Albanian residents out of Kosovo altogether, mostly into neighboring Albania and Macedonia. Exhausted and traumatized, they carried what few belongings they could grab before fleeing or being expelled. They also brought eyewitness accounts of atrocities committed against ethnic Albanian civilians inside Kosovo by Yugoslav soldiers, Serbian police, and paramilitaries. Witnesses and victims told of summary executions, mass murders, destruction of civilian property, and other war crimes. After nearly three months of uncertain living in hastily-erected refugee camps, Serbian forces finally withdrew in June, 1999. The 800,000 ethnic Albanians joyfully returned home to Kosovo—but many found homes and villages had been ransacked and destroyed. Kosovo today remains technically a part of Serbia, though the ethnic Albanians there continue to lobby the world community for an independent state.  


Over 40,000 Kosovo Albanians lived in the sprawling Cegrane refugee camp in Macedonia in the Spring of 1999. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians were driven from their homes into camps in Macedonia and Albania in 1999 by the Serbian military.

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