BELGRADE: Serbia said on Monday that its troop numbers are back to normal near the border with Kosovo -- which accuses it of trying to annex the Serb-majority north -- following deadly clashes there which brought a warning from the United States.
The shooting in Kosovo´s volatile north, in which a Kosovo police officer and three Serb gunmen were killed, triggered one of the gravest escalations in years in the former Serbian breakaway province with an ethnic Albanian-majority population.
Around 30 gunmen were involved in the hours-long shootout in the village of Banjska on September 24, after they ambushed a police patrol and later barricaded themselves in at an Orthodox monastery near the northern border with Serbia.
The number of Serbian troops deployed near the border with Kosovo has been cut from 8,350 to 4,500, Serbian army chief of staff General Milan Mojsilovic told reporters in Belgrade on Monday.
“It means the regular number of troops” are in the area, he added. “The operational regime of the (Serbian army) units... tasked with securing the administrative line with Kosovo is back to normal.”