Kosovo lies in southern Serbia and has a mixed population of which the majority are ethnic Albanians. Until 1989, the region enjoyed a high degree of autonomy within the former Yugoslavia, when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic altered the status of the region, removing its autonomy and bringing it under the direct control of Belgrade, the Serbian capital. The move was strenuously opposed by the Kosovar Albanians.
During 1998, open conflict between Serbian military and police
showed first 75 words of 796 total
showed last 75 words of 796 total
the face of this systematic offensive.
On 20 March, the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission was withdrawn from the region, having faced obstruction from Serbian forces to the extent that they could no longer continue. Ambassador Holbrooke then flew to Belgrade, in a
final attempt to persuade President Milosevic to stop attacks on the Kosovar Albanians or face imminent NATO air strikes. Milosevic refused to comply, and on 23 March the order was given to commence air strikes.