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World - Europe

NATO: Aerial photo may show mass graves in Kosovo

mass graves
NATO says these aerial photos may indicate mass graves
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April 11, 1999
Web posted at: 12:06 p.m. EDT (1606 GMT)

In this story:

No pause for religious holiday

Clashes on Albanian border

NATO ministers to meet


BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- NATO reconnaissance photos indicate evidence of freshly dug mass graves in Kosovo, alliance officials said Sunday.

The aerial photographs show a patch of freshly turned earth at Orahovac, near the provincial capital of Pristina, said Col. Konrad Freytag, NATO's military spokesman.

While the photos indicate the area may have been used for mass graves, "this can only be confirmed when the area has been inspected," Freytag said.

"Based on our experience in Bosnia, where a number of mass graves were uncovered, the form looks quite similar," added NATO civilian spokesman Jamie Shea.

NATO continued to bomb Yugoslav army units in Kosovo on Sunday, the Orthodox Church's Easter, as Britain announced it would send additional ships and planes into the air campaign into Yugoslavia.

British, Dutch and Belgian planes participated in Sunday's raids, which were carried out despite persistent bad weather in the region, said Air Marshal Sir John Day, Britain's deputy chief of staff.

"All our aircraft returned safely," British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said at a London news conference.

To bolster the NATO force in the Balkans, Britain said it would send the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible to the Adriatic Sea, along with a destroyer and a support ship.

The assignment of the Invincible comes a day after the United States announced plans to move an additional 82 strike planes, transports and tankers into the region.

"It is a visible demonstration to our commitment to completing the job and forcing (Yugoslav President Slobodan) to reverse the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo," Cook said.

Invincible's air wing includes seven Harrier attack jets, among other aircraft. The ship will be the third carrier in the NATO fleet, along with the U.S. Navy carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the French carrier Foch.

British military officials said the air raids -- now nearly three weeks old -- have cut into the Yugoslav army's fuel supplies so sharply that its tanks and armored vehicles are kept parked to save gasoline.

"Over time, more and more of them will be coerced to stay static to save fuel," Cook said. "If they come out of hiding, they will be hit."

No pause for religious holiday

Belgrade ushered in Orthodox Easter with the Yugoslav capital under air raid warnings early Sunday as NATO rejected pleas to ease its bombardment during the religious holiday.

Easter worship
Worshipers light candles for Orthodox Easter  

In Belgrade, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriach Pavle, served midnight mass to hundreds, many of whom said their faith was strengthened by the hardships of war.

The Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and NATO member Greece had asked the 19-member military alliance to pause the bombing during Easter as a gesture of goodwill to Yugoslav civilians.

"We thought this was a good idea, but unfortunately it wasn't accepted," Alexander Philon, the Greek ambassador to the United States, told CNN.

Clashes on Albanian border

Meanwhile, fighting between the Yugoslav forces and guerrillas from the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army threatened to spill across Kosovo's borders into Albania.

The KLA buried four of their fighters Sunday, reportedly killed when they encountered a Yugoslav minefield near the frontier.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe estimated as many as 100 shells from Yugoslav artillery hit one town in Albania on Saturday.

Serbs have protested nightly against NATO attacks  

NATO planes have been flying emergency aid to refugees from Kosovo via Albania. The country has also agreed to host a U.S. contingent of helicopter gunships and short-range rocket artillery slated for the air raids.

Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo said Albania has turned over control of its airspace and ports to NATO during the crisis.

Albania has "great sympathy" for NATO's actions in the region, Milo said. He criticized Milosevic for unleashing "medieval violence" and "the fascist policy of a regime that does not recognize and respect the human being."

NATO ministers to meet

NATO ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Monday to assess the campaign against Yugoslavia.

"The watchword for our meeting will be resolve," Cook said.

Milosevic and group
Serb TV shows Milosevic, center, and other officials surveying maps of damaged areas  

Allied officials say the bombardment will continue until Milosevic agrees to all the terms of a peace plan outlined for Kosovo, which aims to end more than a year of fighting between Serb forces and the KLA.

The terms include an end to attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops and the safe return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to Kosovo.

"We cannot accept any peace that does not allow refugees to return and return safely," Cook said.

The sticking point has been the admission of a NATO-led peacekeeping force to oversee any accords. Yugoslav authorities have consistently refused any peace plan that includes international troops in the country.

Calls have come from several quarters -- including many U.S. lawmakers -- for the alliance to consider putting combat troops on the ground in Kosovo.

But Cook dismissed questions on Sunday about a possible NATO ground attack.

"It would take two or three months to assemble the expeditionary force that would be needed, and we do not have two or three months," he said.

Correspondents Alessio Vinci and Catherine Bond contributed to this report.

On Ortodox Easter, religious leaders pray for peace, goodwill
April 11, 1999
NATO adds muscle to air battle
April 10, 1999
Yeltsin warns of posslible world war over Kosovo
April 10, 1999
Refugee situation improves; U.S. says some used as shields
April 10, 1999
NATO getting more 'all-weather' fighter jets
April 9, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • International Rescue Committee
  • Mercy International USA
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page

  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

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