Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, May 29, 1999 Published at 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK

World: Europe

KLA goes on the offensive

The Albanian army practised its response to a Serbian incursion

The border region between Albania and Kosovo is becoming an increasingly dangerous place with reports of a new KLA offensive against Serbian forces on Friday.

Kosovo: Special Report
Nato planes attacked Serb positions in Kosovo and the sounds of battle could be heard from the Albanian side of the border, although reports say it is unclear exactly what is happening.

Tension has heightened in nearby refugee camps at Kukes, easily within range of Serb artillery, amid fears that the conflict could spread into Albania itself.

BBC's Jermey Cooke: There are unmistakeable sounds of battle
The main crossing point for refugees entering Albania is deserted because it is too dangerous to cross.

BBC correspondent Jeremy Cooke, who is in the border area, says all the indications are that the KLA has launched a fresh offensive. Video recordings from inside Kosovo show rebel forces moving freely in the border area but they clearly still face determined Serbian opposition

Show of strength

In a show of force, the Albanian army conducted military exercises with live ammunition in the valleys along the border.

More than a thousand ground troops took part, supported by tanks and rocket fire into the hills.

[ image: Aid workers fear for the safety of refugees in camps at Kukes]
Aid workers fear for the safety of refugees in camps at Kukes
Aid agencies had feared the exercise, intended to show Albania is armed and ready if its territory is threatened, could provoke a response from Serb forces, endangering the lives of tens of thousands of refugees in the camps in Kukes.

However, Nato spokesman Jamie Shea denied the alliance was unhappy with the Albanian's actions. "(Albania) has the right to take any steps which it deems necessary to defend itself," he said.

Civilians under threat

The UNHCR continued to relocate Kosovo refugees from Kukes to other camps in the south, further away from the fighting.

Shelling from the Serbs in Kosovo has forced some Albanian villagers from their homes in the border region.

The Serbs regard the villages as KLA strongholds, but the end result of the fighting is Albanian families left to seek shelter within their own country.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

28 May 99 | Europe
Serbs shell Albanian border

28 May 99 | Europe
Nato planes pile on the pressure

27 May 99 | Europe
Analysis: A fight to the finish

22 May 99 | Europe
'Refugees face two-year wait'

Internet Links

Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosovo Crisis Centre

Eyewitness accounts of the bombing


Albania Daily News

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift