Balkans: March 7, 2003


: SFOR announced another major operation in the Bosnian town of Pale. The SFOR statement said a raid was launched designed to disrupt the network of Bosnian Serb ultra-nationalists who are still working with Radovan Karadzic.

More trouble in south Serbia. Serb sources report two ethnic Albanians died in a firefight with Serb security forces near a Kosovo border crossing. Serb police claimed their vehicle was carrying 33 pounds of explosives. The UCPMB appears to be active in the area once again. On March 1 Serb police dismantled a bomb found near a police station in the village of Presevo.

More reports of large Turkish military movements near the Iraq border. Western sources reported 300 trucks and 200 other vehicles moved into the border area of Sanliurfa province. 1000 new troops (infantry battalion?) moved into Cizre. Another March 6 report put 200 trucks with troops in Silopi. Meanwhile, back in Iskenderun, Turkish longshoremen unloaded US Army vehicles from a freighter. At least 30 US vehicles left Iskenderun March 6 and moved to a holding area in the town of Mardin. The 30 vehicles were later identified as trailer trucks carrying Hummers and other smaller vehicles. This indicates several things. The big picture: Turkish Army believes the parliament will give US ground forces permission to operate out of Turkey against Iraq. The operational picture: Other US ships will start unloading in the next few days as the unloaded vehicles clear the area and start the flow to assembly areas.


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