On Sunday evening (local time) there were unverified reports of armed clashes between Serbs and Kosovars along the border between the two countries. Kosovo, which is seen by Serbia as part of its own historic heartland – unilaterally declared itself independent in 2008 – and was quickly recognized as a “country” by the United States under the Bush administration. The border has been tense and seen periodic outbreaks of violence ever since.
And now, international reports say “Kosovo Police announced on Sunday evening that they had closed the Bernjak and Jarinje border crossings to traffic due to roadblocks set up on these roads. The roadblocks were reportedly set up by local Serbs.” This was followed by rumors of gunfire exchanged between the two sides, with air raid sirens observed blaring in Mitrovica, Kosovo.
There has long been a minority persecuted community of ethnic Serbs still living in their homes within the West-backed boundaries of Kosovo since the 1990’s Yugoslav Wars.
Tensions began spiraling this weekend what Serbia sees as fresh measures by Kosovo to persecute the Serb minority:
The sirens come as Kosovo officials prepared to require Serbians visiting Kosovo to replace their Serbian passports with a temporary ID while in the country and to require Serbian license plates in the country to be replaced with Kosovar license plates.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in a televised address on Sunday urged for peace, but also suggested the Kosovars could be preparing a purge of the Serb minority in the region…