The President: Operation “Arrow” was the main Project of the Kosovo Liberation Army

Prizren/Planejë, May 27th 2019 – President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçia, participated today at the marking of the twentieth anniversary of the Operation “Arrow DO-2” and the fights in Pashtrik.

President Thaçi said that the battle of Pashtrik was one of the most glorious battles of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“Arrow Project”, in its organisation, decision-making and internal and international echo, was the main project of all battles of the Kosovo Liberation Army,” said the President.

The head of state said that the necessity for a wide and massive fighting front created by the Kosovo Liberation Army, opposite the Serbian military and police forces, was mentioned as early as in January 1999.

“Our nation had just emerged from one of the most inhumane massacres, that of Reçak, and in order not to allow such things to happen again, the General Staff of the KLA had charged the Operations Directorate with a task to prepare the “Arrow” military operation which resulted to be the largest, most massive and most frontal of the KLA. For this reason, all of you, fellow warriors, participants of this wide front, must always feel proud of the glory of the battle you have carried out, and which you and your allies have won together,” said President Thaçi

The head of state also said that that at the time, as the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, he remembers very clearly the local and international echo the operation “Arrow” had, and which, apart from ensuring the penetration in three different directions, Koshare, Pashtrik and Koretnik, also aimed the coordination with the NATO air forces, which incessantly hit the camouflaged positions of the Serbian military and police.

Operation “Arrow” or the Pashtrik front, , was an operation which mobilised the whole arsenal of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which gained strong and exceptional backing from the state of Albania, logistic support as well as military, professional and nationwide support,  and at the same time the support of the democratic world, the support of NATO alliance. The moment had come for an open offensive, for a wide attacking front, where at the same time the diaspora was mobilised as well, after the call for mobilisation,” said President Thaçi.

It was the third and the fourth week of May 1999, when this front was initiated and when the largest and most successful attack of the Kosovo Liberation Army took place.

“At that time, seeing that the Serbian army was unable to deal with the massive and powerful Kosovo Liberation Army attack, all their military power was sent to defend and counterattack our units and our brave fighters, who stoically stood their ground in the trenches, and when the Serbian army also utilised the heavy military artillery, masked in the woods, which was later attacked by NATO,” said the President.

The head of state said that the Battle of Koshare, the Battle of Pashtrik, and the one planned for later, the battle of Koretnik, which never happened because the war ended by then and the Kumanova agreement was signed were projected as the only possibility to have a free corridor between Kosovo and Albania.

“A corridor which would help us in provisions of armaments, but also in transporting refugees from the war zone to Albania,” added the President.

For all of us, but also for our allies, said President Thaçi, the Pashtrik front was a front of hope, of faith and the front of the final victory of the Albanians against Serbia.

“Serbia suffered the greatest loss during the Kosovo war of 1998-1999, right here at the Pashtrik front, and this was the main battle of the Kosovo Liberation Army and of our war. Our war begun in Prekaz, where the armed war was started against the Serbian police and military forces by the legendary commander Adem Jashari, to be later spread out all around Kosovo,” said President Thaçi.

Earlier, in our history, in the last century, we had carried out local rebellions, we had carried out fierce battles against Serbia, but we lacked the strong political and military unity, as well as the international support to achieve the liberation of our country.

“Kosovo Liberation Army, was the exception, it learned from the past, and it took in itself the military spirit and the clear political vision, knowing that a war will be won only through a general mobilisation, with a political clarity and with the backing of partners. Thus, the KLA mobilised the people of Kosovo, the whole nation and when the Albanians got together, NATO also provided its backing for our fight for freedom and independence, for our state,” said the President.

As the Prime minister of the Provisional Government of the time, President Thaçi disclosed the conversation he had with General Wesley Clark at the NATO headquarters.

“We will overcome it all, he said, but one thing we can never allow to happen. The Serbian army, must never, at any given moment, be allowed to touch the Pashtrik peaks. It is ours, and we well protect it together with you and we shall win this battle; and not a single Serbian soldier, not only in Pashtrik, but also in Zveçan, will not remain in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo,” said President Thaçi.

Based on his constitutional and legal competencies, to all fallen martyrs of the battle of Pashtrik, President Thaçi has bestowed the order of the “Hero of Kosovo.”