Sunday, June 6, 1999 Published at 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Piecing Kosovo together
Ethnic Albanians may not be able to forgive and forget
By BBC News Online's Kate Goldberg
War in Kosovo may be ending, but for the people who once inhabited the province, the challenge of rebuilding their lives is just beginning.
Thousands more are still missing, feared dead.
Those who survived will be going back to a land that has been heavily mined, with little remaining infrastructure, and more than 80% of the houses destroyed.
They will also be going back to a deep sense of Serb humiliation - that could easily turn to heightened ethnic hatred.
Nato has already warned both sides not to take advantage of withdrawing Yugoslav troops to exact reprisals.
Facing the enemy
But there is also speculation that Serbs will not want to stay in the province at all.
"I don't think that Kosovo is going to be a very happy place for Serbs," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said.
One of the latest groups of refugees to flee the province told horrific stories of their imprisonment at a Serb jail within Kosovo.
Many prisoners said their captors had instructed local Serb children to beat them with iron bars.
Such an experience would leave lasting scars - with both the victims and the child aggressors.
Both sides have shown that they do not forget easily - the dispute between Serbs and Albanians over Kosovo has already gone on for centuries.
With Nato action, it has finally reached a climax.
But it remains to be seen whether Serbs and Albanians will ever be able to live side by side with each other again.
The Serbs have been left to nurture a growing sense of isolation.
There are many reports of Serb deserters - and a Yugoslav court has already sentenced several to jail.
Shunned at home, and despised in Kosovo, some have also been accused of looting homes abandoned by Albanian refugees.
The discarded ruins of Kosovo, it seems, have become a Serb free-for-all.
War of words
As if to distance themselves from the province, the Yugoslav media have started making a distinction between Serbia and Kosovo.
Yugoslavia has justified the war repeatedly on the grounds that Kosovo was the cradle of Serbian civilisation.
It now seems that the media at least are prepared to relinquish the province to Nato control.