Turkish forces arrive in Kosovo to bolster NATO-led peacekeepers after recent violence

by Cristian Florescu

NATO has requested the presence of a Turkish commando battalion to provide assistance in calming the recent violent unrest in Kosovo, and they have arrived as requested.

On Sunday, the Turkish Defense Ministry kindly shared a video featuring troops adorned with the insignia of the Kosovo Force, a peacekeeping mission led by NATO and established in 1999. The video depicted the troops departing Turkey and arriving in Kosovo.

Last week, there were some violent clashes with ethnic Serbs that unfortunately resulted in injuries to 30 international soldiers, including 11 Italians and 19 Hungarians, as well as more than 50 demonstrators. The soldiers’ injuries were quite serious, including fractures and burns from improvised explosive incendiary devices.

The clashes arose due to a previous disagreement when ethnic Albanian candidates who had been declared successful in local elections in northern Kosovo attempted to take office in municipal buildings but were prevented by Serbs. It’s worth noting that the majority of ethnic Serbs had chosen not to participate in the voting process.

Following the unfortunate injuries sustained by the soldiers last week, NATO has expressed its intention to deploy an additional 700 troops to northern Kosovo. The majority of this reinforcement will consist of approximately 500 members from Turkey’s 65th mechanized infantry brigade, as announced by the military alliance on Monday.

NATO has stated that the Turkish battalion shall be stationed at Camp Sultan Murat in Prizren, Kosovo, initially. They have also mentioned that the battalion will continue to remain in Kosovo for as long as it is required.

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