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Kosovo marked the 20th anniversary on Sunday (March 24) of NATO bombing campaign that was launched in 1999 against former Yugoslavia.
Kosovars still see this date as a turning point in their lives and the milestone in country's fight for independence, as the campaign halted the killings and expulsions of Kosovo Albanian civilians by Serbian security forces.
Families of soldiers who served in Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) gathered by their graves in the village of Gllogjan, a place of clashes between KLA and Serbian police forces during Kosovo war and a birthplace of Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.
Haradinaj was a Kosovo Albanian former commander at KLA, which rose up against Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic in the last 1990s, eventually winning crucial NATO air support that halted the killing and expulsion of Kosovo Albanian civilians during a brutal counter-insurgency campaign.
NATO's air strikes lasted for 11 weeks, ousting Serbian forces and halting the crackdown, part of a two-year counter-insurgency after the breakup of Yugoslavia, and paving the way for Kosovo's independence.
Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and won recognition from the United States and most EU countries, but not Serbia or its patron Russia.
Some 4,000 NATO peacekeepers remain in the tiny Balkan country.
Serbians will pay tribute to the casualties of the air strikes in ceremonies on Sunday including in the southern city of Nis, where Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is expected to be in attendance.