War in The Balkans: The Balkan Question key issues behind the war explained

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The Independent Online
Will The Kosovo Refugees Ever Go Home?

About half the 1.8 million population of Kosovo has been expelled to neighbouring countries, while hundreds of thousands more are on the move in the province. The precedent of previous wars in ex-Yugoslavia is that the displaced never go home. In Croatia, several hundred thousand ethnic Serbs were forced out in 1995 and the majority have not gone back. The Bosnian war of 1992-5 caused a vast exodus of Muslims to the west and Turkey; 350,000 went to Germany alone. The Germans have been trying to force them to go back since a peace deal was arranged in 1995, but, as many of their homes are now destroyed or in hostile Serb territory, many are resisting repatriation.

In Kosovo it is clear that no refugees will return or be allowed to return while the province is under Serbian control. However, even if the alliance succeeds in forcing the Serb troops out, it is unlikely people will return to torched villages unless there is a massive reconstruction campaign.

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