Parts of Kosovo Remain Sealed Off Amid Violence
Large sections of Serbia’s Kosovo province remained sealed off by Serbian forces Tuesday after thousands of ethnic Albanians fled mortar attacks on their villages.
In Pristina, the provincial capital, Serbian sources said security forces had completed a five-day operation in the province’s embattled southwest and purged two communities of separatist ethnic Albanian gunmen.
All communications with the region remained cut off Tuesday, so no update on casualties from the fighting was available. However, Serbs reported that four police officers were wounded Monday.
Kosovo is in southern Serbia, the dominant republic in the rump Yugoslavia. Serbian officials say their troops are fighting guerrillas seeking independence for the province, where 90% of the population is made up of ethnic Albanians.
The rising level of violence, which reportedly claimed 39 lives over the weekend, has increased fears in the international community that fragile Serbian-Albanian talks brokered by the United States and due to resume Friday might break down.