20 years since start of heroic Battle of Kosare
One of the most fierce battles during NATO's aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) started this day 20 years ago.Source: B92, Prva TV
The Battle of Kosare was fought on the slopes of Junik and Prokletije mountains, on the border with Albania, where our army heroically resisted, without retreating by an inch, a multi-week offensive mounted by the terrorist KLA ("Kosovo Liberation Army"), the Albanian army, and the mujahideen, backed up by the Western military alliance's bombs.
The heroic defense of the fatherland cost 108 of our soldiers their lives.
Colonel Ljubinko Djurkovic and border guard Djura Elcic were among the participants and witnesses in these events - the sacrifice and the suffering, but also the power of will and the morale of those who put Serbia above their own lives.
Djurkovic told Prva TV on Tuesday that on the morning the battle began, he was at a command outpost in Junik. The enemy tried to pull off "a strategic surprise" toward Kosare. Djurkovic said this attempt failed, despite our troops not having any reliable information that this number of forces would move against them that morning, and in that place.
"The enemy prepared 2,000 people for the first wave of the attack. It's true those were terrorist brigades, but they were helped by NATO, because they had NATO instructors up to the brigade level. Some of their commanders went to school in our, Serbian (military) academies, but they had also been preparing for war for years in camps in Albania," Djurkovic said.
He added that "nobody can explain the kind of heroism, morale, ability and capability of one border unit consisting of 110 soldiers, that stopped this first wave of the attack almost at the very border, under very difficult conditions."
The terrain there, he continued, is "very rough - with peaks at over 2,000 meters above sea level, 2.5-meter snowdrifts, and severely cold weather."
One of those who directly confronted the enemy was border guard Djura Elcic.
When the attack happened, Elcic told Prva TV, he was "lying in ambush next to the Boundary Stone C4."
"The whole outpost had been relocated and 'broken up' into four or five different sites; the facilities had been abandoned in anticipation of NATO attacks and air strikes," he said.
Asked how he reacted when the attack started, Elcic had a brief answer: "Cock the rifle. And that's all."
"The main reason why we border guards had few losses in that attack is that we knew the terrain like the back of our hand," he explained. "But also because we had very good commanders."
The Battle of Kosare officially ended on June 14, 1999 - four days after the end of the NATO bombing, when the Yugoslav Army (VS) withdrew from the outpost in accordance with the Kumanovo agreement that ended the war over Kosovo.