In 1996, after four years of civil resistance, Kosovo Albanians, who had been suppressed by Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian-dominated government (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) since 1992, became embroiled in open war with the Serbian occupying forces. In 1996 the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), using arms obtained in Albania, launched attacks on Serbian police. By July 1998, the KLA had seized control of over half the province. This triggered a massive Serbian counteroffensive, which culminated in the massacre of many Kosovans and a refugee crisis. After threats of military strikes from NATO, and failed peace talks, the crisis escalated. Between 24 March–10 June 1999 NATO bombed Serbian infrastructure, including bridges and industrial plants, as well as military installations. Thousands of Albanian Kosovans were airlifted to safety in Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, NATO nations and the US. On 12 June, joint NATO-Russian peacekeeping forces occupied Kosovo, forcing Milosevic to restore Kosovar autonomy, although the province remained part of Serbia.
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