Kosovo Chronology

Key events in NATO's 1999 Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia

March 24 through June 24, 1999

[Timeline compiled by CBS]

March 24, 1999 - NATO launches air war against military targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO's code-name for the operation was "Operation Allied Force." This operation is considered a major part of the Kosovo War. It was only the second major combat operation in NATO's history, following the September 1995 Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 1999 NATO bombing campaign was to last 78 days, ending after Serbia and NATO signed a withdrawal accord on June 9. (The actual last day of bombing is variously reported as June 10 or June 11.)

March 27 - Ethnic Albanians fleeing or expelled from Kosovo begin to pour into Albania and Macedonia.

April 1 - Yugoslav television shows three bruised U.S. soldiers captured near Yugoslav-Macedonian border. They are freed on May 2 after a visit by U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

April 3 - NATO missiles destroy Yugoslav ministries in first strikes on central Belgrade.

April 14 - NATO air strikes hit ethnic Albanian refugees in Kosovo road convoys. Yugoslavia reports 64 dead. NATO admits five days later it may have made mistakes.

April 21 - NATO blasts headquarters of President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia and his private residence in Belgrade.

April 23 - NATO attacks Serbian state television building in central Belgrade, killing at least 10 people.

May 2 - NATO graphite bombs short-circuit Yugoslav power grid.

May 7 - NATO mistakenly[?] bombs Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists.

May 10 - Yugoslavia says it is withdrawing some forces from Kosovo. Major Western powers dismiss the statement.

May 13 - NATO bombs Kosovo village of Korisa, killing 87 ethnic Albanian civilians.

May 15 - NATO admits Korisa bombing but rejects blame for civilian deaths, saying target had been spotted as a military camp.

May 17 - Anti-war protests start in Serbian towns of Aleksandrovac and Krusevac.

May 22 - NATO bombs army barracks at Kosare, unaware it was captured by Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas a month earlier.

May 23 - NATO begins intensive bombing of Yugoslav electricity grid, beginning major disruption of power and water supplies.

May 24 - Head of U.N. fact-finding mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello, says he saw "revolting" signs of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

May 25 - NATO allies agree to increase to about 48,000 the ground force being assembled for eventual use in Kosovo.

May 27 - U.N. war crimes tribunal indicts Milosevic and four other leaders for crimes against humanity.

May 28 - Official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug says Yugoslavia accepts general principles agreed by Group of Eight powers as a basis for peace in Kosovo.

May 29 - Two Australian aid workers and a Yugoslav colleague are convicted in Belgrade of spying and jailed.

May 30 - NATO aircraft bomb crowded bridge in Varvarin, central Serbia, killing nine people and injuring at least 17.

June 1 - Yugoslavia tells Germany it has accepted Group of Eight principles for peace and demands end to NATO bombing.

June 3 - Yugoslavia accepts peace plan brought to Belgrade by European Union and Russian envoys. - NATO says over 5,000 members of Yugoslav security forces have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded in NATO raids.

June 7 - NATO and Yugoslav commanders fail to agree terms of pullout from Kosovo and suspend talks. NATO intensifies bombing. - Yugoslavia insists it wants a U.N. Security Council resolution before any foreign troops enter Kosovo.

June 8 - Russia says it has plans to send up to 10,000 troops to a peacekeeping force in Kosovo, but not under NATO command. - The West and Russia reach a landmark agreement on a draft U.N. resolution for peace at G8 talks in Cologne. - NATO says B-52 bomber catches two Yugoslav battalions in open near Albanian border, possibly killing hundreds, on June 7.

June 9 - NATO and Yugoslavia sign Kosovo withdrawal accord.

June 10 - NATO and Belgrade say Serb forces have begun to withdraw. - U.N. Security Council adopts resolution on Kosovo. - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott rules out a separate sector for the Russians in Kosovo. - Solana orders suspension of the bombing campaign. - In Cologne, G8 ministers agree to draft a "Marshall Plan" to anchor the Balkans to Western Europe and rebuild Kosovo.

June 11 - President Boris Yeltsin says ties with NATO remain frozen despite bombing suspension but he does not rule out improvement. - Russian troops enter Yugoslavia from Bosnia, U.S. says it has pledge from Moscow they will not enter Kosovo before NATO.

June 12 - Russian troops enter Pristina 3-1/2 hours before NATO troops enter Kosovo. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says deployment was an "unfortunate mistake" and troops have been ordered to leave; they take up position at Pristina airport. - British NATO troops enter Kosovo at dawn to begin taking control from withdrawing Serbian forces; they reach Pristina in the afternoon. French and U.S. troops also enter Kosovo. - Yeltsin promotes commander of Russian forces in Kosovo. Russian and British forces in standoff over control of airport.

June 13 - Hundreds of Serbian soldiers pull out of Pristina. - Russian troops still encamped at Pristina airport refuse to let British and French troops move onto the airport. NATO withdraws and looks for a headquarters elsewhere. - British troops shoot dead Serb assailant in Pristina, German NATO troops kill Serb in Prizren after being fired at. - Two German journalists are shot dead.

June 14 - Serb refugees pour out of Kosovo as ethnic Albanian refugees begin to stream back home. - NATO cordons off mass grave sites around Kacanik. Locals say they contain 91 villagers killed by Serb paramilitaries. - 20,000 hungry and displaced ethnic Albanian refugees are discovered in Glogovac, west of Pristina.

June 15 - Russian troops in control of the main airport at Pristina ask British NATO forces for supplies. - Dutch peacekeepers discover charred remaiins of at least 20 ethnic Albanians in a house at the village of Velika Krusa. - Italian troops find two mass graves in the village of Korenica near the Kosovo town of Pec. - The International Committee of the Red Cross says at least 33,000 ethnic Serbs have fled Kosovo since the weekend.

June 16 - A nine-vehicle Russian military convoy enters Pristina airport, joining up with 200 Russian troops already there. - Bodies are found in wells in a village near Pristina where villagers say up to 100 ethnic Albanians were slaughtered. - Italian soldiers discover a suspected mass grave near Djakovica in western Kosovo.

June 17 - The EIU reports that the war will slice some $7.8 billion off the total gross domestic product (GDP) of eight Balkan states in 1999, amounting to 5.4 percent of the region's output. - NATO says the Serb withdrawal from the whole of Kosovo is going "apace," with more than 26,000 of 40,000 troops having left. Serb forces complete a pullout from southern Kosovo. - President Yeltsin says Russia must insist on having its own peacekeeping zone in Kosovo in talks with U.S. officials. - U.S. and Russian officials agree on two key issues in talks in Helsinki but a third remains unresolved. The U.S. stresses that the talks have not broken down. - British forces cordon off a Serb-run police station in the centre of Pristina where they say a torture chamber for the interrogation of prisoners has been found. - Two Italian soldiers wounded by mines in Kosovo. - Official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug says U.S. special Balkans envoy Robert Gelbard has met a group of opposition politicians to discuss a plan to topple the Belgrade government. - World Food Program says that up to 50,000 Kosovo Serbs have fled Kosovo since ethnic Albanians refugees started returning. - The Yugoslav government urges Serbs and Montenegrins to stay in Kosovo. - Italy's ANSA news agency reports Serb paramilitaries and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas clash in western Kosovo in the town of Klina near Pec.

June 18 - U.S. and Russian defense ministers agree in Helsinki that Russian peacekeepers will not have a separate sector in Kosovo.

June 19 - Three Serb civilians are killed in a shootout with KLA rebels near Pec as Italian peacekeeping troops tried to disarm the guerrillas. The commander of the Italian contingent, General Mauro Del Vecchio, had banned the KLA from walking in the town armed and in uniform the previous day. - French newspaper Le Monde says Yugoslav forces took hundreds of ethnic Albanian prisoners out of Kosovo. - Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Milovan Bojic says that fleeing Kosovo Serbs should return immediately to their homes otherwise the province might be lost to the nation. - More than 100 bodies have been found at Velika Krusa in southwestern Kosovo by a British forensics team led by a senior police official.

June 20 - In Cologne the G8 says that all parties in the conflict over Kosovo must comply with U.N. and other agreements on Serb withdrawal and the demilitarization of the KLA. - U.N. World Food Program begins taking food by helicopter to thousands of ethnic Albanians hiding out in the mountains of Kosovo. - A NATO spokesman says the last large contingents of Serb soldiers and police have crossed the border out of Kosovo. - It is reported that NATO troops have found 60,000 ethnic Albanian refugees held by Serb forces in five ransacked northern Kosovo villages that were turned into concentration camps.

June 21 - An unidentified explosive device detonates in Kosovo, killing two NATO peacekeepers from Nepal and two civilians. They're the first allied fatalities since the NATO-led force entered Kosovo on June 12. - Albanian rebels pledge to disarm. The deal comes just hours after the last of the 40,000 Serb troops had left Kosovo. - Serb refugees continue to flee Kosovo. Several hundred of the refugees demonstrate in the capital, Belgrade. Police break up the protest, telling them it was illegal. - Over 50,000 Ethnic Albanian refugees filter back into towns where Serb forces had rampaged.

June 22 - U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary visited the Stankovic-1 refugee camp in Macedonia. He warned Kosovar refugees planning to return to their homes to be careful of unexploded bombs and land mines. - The bomb that killed two NATO peacekeepers and two civilians is identified as an unexploded NATO bomb. The soldiers were clearing ammunition from a school in the village of Negrovce, about 30 kilometers from the Kosovo capital, Pristina. - Thousands of Serbs who've fled Kosovo in recent weeks are now upset at the way they're being treated in Serbia itself. The government in Belgrade wants these most recent refugees to go home. It's launched a massive publicity campaign to convince them they'll be safe. - German KFOR soldiers in Kosovo have made their first arrest of bandits who came over the border from Northern Albania. - In the Kosovo city of Prizren, two elderly Serbs were murdered in an apparent revenge attack by ethnic Albanians. It was a brazen assault in the city centre in broad daylight, one of many such attacks across Kosovo.

June 23 - British Foreign Minister Robin Cook was part of a delegation of four European ministers who got a first-hand look at the damage in Kosovo. He said he was "deeply distressed and moved" by the devastation. - U.S. Marines came under fire at a checkpoint in the village of Zegra. Gunmen started shooting at them from a building. The Marines fired back, killing at least one person, and arresting several others. - In Mitrovica, French troops came under attack. After a shootout, the peackeepers arrested three Serb civilians. - The Swiss government froze the assets of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four other war crimes suspects on Wednesday. The action came at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic was indicted for war crimes on May 28 in connection with atrocities committed in Kosovo by Serb military and police forces. - Using broken-down tractors and rickety trailers, ethnic Albanians continue to loot abandoned Serbian homes as Kosovo Liberation Army soldiers stand by.

June 24, 1999 - The United States announced it will offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of war criminals. State Department spokesman James Rubin said the U.S. would pay up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any person indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. - Ethnic violence between Serbs and Kosovarrs resulted in more deaths. The bodies of three Kosovo Serbs were found at Pristina University in the basement of the Economics building. - NATO Secretary General Javier Solana appealed for tolerance between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.