NATO forces have extended the deadline for Serbs in northern Kosovo to remove barricades near the Kosovar-Serbian border, delivering them an ultimatum to clear the roadblocks by early Tuesday or face forced removal.
Pristina, the capital of Albanian-dominated Kosovo, wants to erect customs posts between the Serb-dominated part of the self-proclaimed republic and Serbia, tearing the Serb enclave in Kosovo from Belgrade and urging Serbs to leave their homes and depart for Serbia.
That means the clock is ticking for Kosovar Serbs because NATO’s Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) is on the side of the Albanians, and they have already shown that they will not hesitate to fire at Serb protesters with live rounds.
But the Serbs who were born in Kosovo do not want to leave their motherland, and they have attempted to prevent Albanian police and customs officials from seizing control of the border crossings to Serbia.
Still, KFOR appears to mean business, and seems intent on delivering Kosovar officials to border checkpoints under the protection of their guns.
But Kosovar Serbs have nowhere to retreat. When RT visited the site of the protests, the roadblocks remained in the same place they have been for the last two months.
With the Tuesday deadline approaching, tensions in the area are boiling.
On Saturday, KFOR Commander General Erhard Drews met with the mayors of four northern Kosovo towns, claiming that KFOR needs the roads cleared in order access northern parts of Kosovo. At the moment, supplies for the KFOR troops stationed there – water, food and fuel – is being delivered by helicopters.
Last month KFOR attempted to bulldoze the Kosovar Serb barricades, but the only result was violence that left 11 Serbs wounded. Despite KFOR’s attempt to cover up the scandal by saying soldiers were only shooting rubber bullets, the doctors who treated the injured confirmed all the wounds were real gunshots. It could be said that blood has already been spilled, and it was Serb blood.
The situation on the border might look peaceful for now, but this could change in the blink of an eye.