On March 24, 1999, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia started. It was the NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The strikes lasted from March 24 to June 10, 1999. The operation code name was Operation Allied Force, the United States called it the Operation Noble Anvil and Yugoslavia named it the Merciful Angel.
This was the second most important military intervention of NATO after the 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The operation was not authorized by the United Nations and it was the first time that NATO used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council and against a sovereign nation that didn't pose a threat to members of the alliance. The NATO intervention was carried out on the charges that Serbian security forces carried out ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo's Albanians.
On March 24, at 8.00 pm the first bomb hit the military barracks in Prokuplje. During the following days, all bigger cities in Serbia and Montenegro were also bombarded. Initially, NATO was attacking only military targets, but then they started to attack the economic and civil structures, too. During the attack, which lasted for 78 days, many schools, healthcare institutions, economic buildings, media companies, monuments, churches and monasteries were destroyed. Damage is estimated at 30 to 100 billion dollars. About 1500 people lost their lives and 5000 were injured.
On March 27, the 3rd Battalion of the Army of Yugoslavia, under the command of Colonel Dani, downed the F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft, which was called the invisible. It was the first and only confirmed loss of the NATO Alliance aircraft made in stealth technology.
The attacks were suspended on June 10, after the signing of the military-technical agreement on the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and police from Kosovo. With the army and police, more than 200,000 Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians had fled back to Serbia.
Today, Serbia is trying to forget or, at least, forgive for these sad events. She is trying to move on and cooperate with everyone without any prejudice. She wants a better future for all countries, especially for her people. Unfortunately, Serbia still has a lot of bad nationalists who have their own organizations. They constantly remind us of these events and create more disagreement between these nations. I hope that this will stop and that we will be able to live without any hatred.
Mila Prokin 3-5/2015