21 years ago, one of the most difficult ground battles fought by the Yugoslav Army began.
The rain of artillery shells that flooded the positions of the 549th Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army between the Cafa Prusit and Liken watchtowers in the early morning on this day 21 years ago marked the beginning of one of the most difficult battles in the war for the country’s defense in 1999 – the Battle of Pastrik.
The Battle of Pastrik or Operation Arrow was two-week confrontation between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with NATO’s support against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, during the Kosovo War. The main objective of the KLA forces was to open a route through the White Drin and the Mount Pastrik in order to secure the safe passage of weapons and personnel across the Yugoslav-Albanian border.
KLA fighters managed to seize Mount Pastrik, its northern slopes and the village of Milaj, on the northern bank of the White Drin by the end of May. In spite of heavy NATO air support, which included the use of USAF B-52 bombers, the Yugoslav Army hold the line on the White Drin, where they build temporary bridges to maintain their supply lines open, supported by heavy mortars and artillery. The KLA was unable to make further gains, and only kept a foothole on the Paštrik peeks by the time of the Kumanovo Agreement on 9 June.