Home   Education Programme Home

Preparing for Peace

The website of the Westmorland General Meeting 'Preparing for Peace' initiative




Summary of military campaign against Serbia, 1999

Milosevic became President of Yugoslavia in 1991.

Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia. The population of Kosovo is 90% Albanian and 10% Serb. There was pressure from the Kosovo-Albanians for more self-rule. Milosevic vehemently opposed this, crushing Albanian calls for independence  and steadily removing their civil rights.


Spring.  Serb forces sent into Kosovo attack ethnic Albanians, burning homes, killing civilians. By September 300,000 refugees had fled from their homes.

September  United Nations passes resolution condemning Serb actions, but cannot act as the UN Charter does not allow action in disputes within a country. USA and European Allies decide to work through NATO to bring pressure to bear on Milosevic.

(NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organisation: a military alliance of 19 European and north

American states, led by the USA, set up in 1949). 

September 25  NATO threatens air strikes unless Milosevic orders Serb forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

October 15  Milosevic orders Serb forces in Kosovo back to their barracks. Threat of air strikes withdrawn, but Serb violations of Kosovan Albanian human rights recommence in December. UN estimates 800,000 refugees by end of 1998


January 9  Milosevic orders more Serb forces into Kosovo.

January 16  Massacre of Kosovan Albanians by Serb forces at Recak.

January 29  NATO warns Milosevic that Serbia would be attacked if he does not withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo.

February 18  French & British negotiators meet Serb delegates at Rambouillet, near Paris, for peace talks.

March    Milosevic rejects Rambouillet peace terms.

March 24  NATO bombing campaign starts. (Continues for 10 weeks.  900 NATO aircraft flew 36,000 sorties. 20,000 “smart” bombs and 5,000 bombs dropped).

March 25 NATO General Wesley Clarke declares:  “We are going to systematically and progressively attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate and ultimately destroy their forces and their facilities and support. This is not an attack on the Serb people.”

April 3  police HQ in Belgrade destroyed

April 5  12 civilians killed in Aleksivac, southern Serbia.

April 12  55 killed by bomb on a train at Leskovac.

April 14   80 Kosovans killed in error

April 23  Opposition TV station bombed: 10 killed

April 27   20 killed, including 12 children, in raid on Surdulica.

May 1  39 killed in a bus by missile attack on a bridge

May 6  Foreign Ministers of G8 nations set out peace proposals.

May 7  Chinese Embassy in Belgrade hit by missile: 4 Chinese killed.

May 15  100 refugees bombed in error in Korisa.

May 20  3 killed as bomb hits hospital in Belgrade.

May 22  22 civilians killed in Nis.

May 22: Report in The Times “Day after day the vital foundations of daily life are being blown away: blackouts, fuel shortages, blank television screens, fuel shortages, broken bridges and regular interruptions to water, gas and sewage systems leave a population increasingly bewildered.”

June 2  Milosevic accepts peace proposals.

June 11  Bombing halted after 78 days.


Summary of impact of the war:


5,000 Serb soldiers killed.

1,400 civilians killed

2 NATO soldiers killed


MILITARY: 25% of Serb tanks, 30% of Serb artillery, 25% of Serb air force, 75% of military fuel reserves, 9 out of 17 military air bases, 30% of missile batteries.


55 road & rail bridges, 40% fuel reserves, both oil refineries, 14 power stations.

44% of Serbian industrial production destroyed, leaving Serbia the poorest country in Europe.



  Education    Scheme of work     Factsheet 1    Factsheet 2     Factsheet 3