US Army Oversees Serbian Exodus From Kosovo

July 7, 2008 - 8:07 PM

(CNS) - As the last several hundred Serbs left the Kosovan village of Zitinje, Sunday, US Army helicopters hovered overhead, and American troops lined the road to keep ethnic Albanian Kosovars from attacking Serbian Kosovars.

Other than a few hurled stones and epithets, the departing Serbian Kosovars received little abuse as they traveled in cars and tractors loaded with all their belongings headed into exile in Serbia.

The Albanian Kosovars watched closely to see if any of their belongings, taken from them by Serbs during the 16-month conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists and Yugoslavian Serb forces, passed by in the convoy.

Some of the Albanians shouted "UCK, UCK!" the Albanian acronym for the Kosovo Liberation Army, while others yelled, "Go to Serbia now. It's where you belong," according to multiple news reports.

However, the also reportedly chanted "USA, USA" and "NATO, NATO," in respect for the combined American and NATO forces, which liberated them from their Serbian oppressors with an intensive months-long bombing campaign.

Since NATO peacekeepers took over in Kosovo in June, more than half of the ethnic Serbian Kosovars have fled for fear of reprisal by the Albanian Kosovars.