NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

1999 NATO military operation in Yugoslavia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) carried out an aerial bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The air strikes lasted from 24 March 1999 to 10 June 1999. The bombings continued until an agreement was reached that led to the withdrawal of Yugoslav armed forces from Kosovo, and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, a UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. The official NATO operation code name was Operation Allied Force (Serbian: Савезничка сила / Saveznička sila) whereas the United States called it Operation Noble Anvil (Serbian: Племенити наковањ / Plemeniti nakovanj);[31] in Yugoslavia the operation was incorrectly called Merciful Angel (Serbian: Милосрдни анђео / Milosrdni anđeo), possibly as a result of a misunderstanding or mistranslation.[32]

Quick facts: NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Date, Location, R...
NATO bombing of Yugoslavia
Part of the Kosovo War

The Yugoslav city of Novi Sad on fire in 1999
Date24 March – 10 June 1999[1] (2 months, 2 weeks and 3 days)

NATO victory[3]

UN Resolution 1244; de facto separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia under UN temporary administration
Flag_of_Serbia_and_Montenegro_%281992%E2%80%932006%29.svg FR Yugoslavia
Commanders and leaders

NATO Wesley Clark (SACEUR)
Flag_of_NATO.svg Rupert Smith
Flag_of_NATO.svg Javier Solana

United States Gen. John W. Hendrix[17]
Flag_of_the_United_States_%28Pantone%29.svg James O. Ellis[18]
Flag_of_the_President_of_Serbia_and_Montenegro_%281992-2006%29.svg Slobodan Milošević
Flag_of_Serbia_and_Montenegro_%281992%E2%80%932006%29.svg Dragoljub Ojdanić
Flag_of_Serbia_and_Montenegro_%281992%E2%80%932006%29.svg Nebojša Pavković
1,031+ aircraft[19]
30 warships & submarines[20]
United States Task Force Hawk
114,000 regulars
20,000 police
1,270 tanks
825 armoured vehicles[20]
1,400 artillery pieces
100 SAM launchers
14 modern combat aircraft[21]
Casualties and losses
3 jet fighters destroyed
2 helicopters destroyed
46 UAVs destroyed[22]
3 jet fighters damaged
2 soldiers killed (non-combat helicopter crash)
3 soldiers captured

Serbian MOD in 2013
1,008 killed (659 servicemen and 349 policemen)
5,173 wounded[23]
Acc. to FHP
304 soldiers and policemen[24]
Serbian claim in 2015
Economic losses of $29.6 billion[25]
Material losses:

120 tanks, 220 APCs, 450 artillery pieces and 121 aircraft destroyed[26][27]
Yugoslavs estimate 13 tanks, 6 APCs, and 6 artillery pieces destroyed[27]

Third party estimate 14 tanks, 18 APCs and 20 artillery pieces destroyed[27][28]

Human Rights Watch estimate: 489–528 civilians killed (60% of whom were in Kosovo)[29]
Yugoslav estimate: 1,200–2,000 civilians killed[29] and about 6,000 civilians wounded[30]
FHP: Flag_of_Albania.svg 218 Albanians, Flag_of_Serbia_%281992%E2%80%932004%29.svg 204 Serbs and 30 others[24]

China 3 Chinese citizens killed in NATO's bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade

NATO's intervention was prompted by Yugoslavia's bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of Albanians, which drove the Albanians into neighbouring countries and had the potential to destabilize the region. Yugoslavia's actions had already provoked condemnation by international organisations and agencies such as the UN, NATO, and various INGOs.[33][34] Yugoslavia's refusal to sign the Rambouillet Accords was initially offered as justification for NATO's use of force.[35] NATO countries attempted to gain authorisation from the UN Security Council for military action, but were opposed by China and Russia, who indicated that they would veto such a measure. As a result, NATO launched its campaign without the UN's approval, stating that it was a humanitarian intervention. The UN Charter prohibits the use of force except in the case of a decision by the Security Council under Chapter VII, or self-defence against an armed attack – neither of which were present in this case.[36]

By the end of the war, the Yugoslavs had killed 1,500[37] to 2,131 combatants.[38] 10,317 civilians were killed or missing, with 85% of those being Kosovar Albanian and some 848,000 were expelled from Kosovo.[39] The NATO bombing killed about 1,000 members of the Yugoslav security forces in addition to between 489 and 528 civilians. It destroyed or damaged bridges, industrial plants, hospitals, schools, cultural monuments, private businesses as well as barracks and military installations. In the days after the Yugoslav army withdrew, over 164,000 Serbs and 24,000 Roma left Kosovo. Many of the remaining non-Albanian civilians (as well as Albanians perceived as collaborators) were victims of abuse which included beatings, abductions, and murders.[40][41][42][43][44] After Kosovo and other Yugoslav Wars, Serbia became home to the highest number of refugees and IDPs (including Kosovo Serbs) in Europe.[45][46][47]

The bombing was NATO's second major combat operation, following the 1995 bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the first time that NATO had used military force without the expressed endorsement of the UN Security Council and thus, international legal approval,[48] which triggered debates over the legitimacy of the intervention.