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Context of 'July 15, 2001: KLA Begins Ethnic Cleansing of Tetovo-Kosovo Corridor in Macedonia'

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The US and NATO provide the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with arms and training. (Kurop 11/1/2001)

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) says it will send representatives to the peace talks in Rambouillet, France on February 6 (see February 6-23, 1999). Representing the KLA, will be Supreme Commander Hashim Thaci, also known as “The Snake,” and four other Kosovars, all militants. (BBC 2/3/1999) On Febuary 4, the Yugoslav government (essentially Serbia) agrees to join the peace talks. (US Information Agency 4/13/1999)

The US State Department temporarily suspends cooperation between the Bosnian army and the US private mercenary company MPRI. No official reason is given, but media reports indicate that the Bosnian Muslims being trained by MPRI were caught sending weapons to Muslim rebels in the regions of Kosovo and Sandzak in Serbia. Supposedly, millions of dollars of weapons were smuggled to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Kosovo. (BBC 4/5/1999; Madsen 8/1/1999; Peterson 10/28/2002)

By mid-July the Macedonian police and military are no longer able to contain the KLA in the Tetovo-Kosovo corridor. The fighting intensifies and the KLA establishes secure bases in this region. On the evening of July 15, local KLA commanders notify Macedonian residents that they must flee or face execution. It is estimated that over 30,000 Macedonians are forced to flee their homes and become refugees. (Taylor 2002, pp. 121-122)


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