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Serbian forces attack last pockets of resistance

August 7, 1998

KOSOVO: Serbian forces attack last pockets of resistance
By Guy Dinmore in Srbica, Financial Times

Serbian forces on Thursday attacked the remaining pockets of resistance of ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo province, despite US warnings of military intervention if President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia does not call off his offensive. Police blocked journalists and western diplomatic observers on the edge of the central town of Srbica from entering the village of Lausa. Smoke hung over the area and the occasional boom of artillery fire could be heard nearby.

Government forces have captured a swathe of central and southern Kosovo over the past week, burning villages and fields and putting to flight tens of thousands of civilians. Pro-independence rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army have mostly retreated in disarray after evacuating civilians.

The US envoy, Richard Holbrooke, warned on Wednesday that the operation, which was continuing despite Mr Milosevic’s assurances to the contrary, “increases dramatically the likelihood or possibility of active western intervention of a military sort”.

He also said Mr Milosevic had received a letter from the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, of “a very forceful nature”.

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