Serbian Police units met with automatic weapons fire on the Hungarian border
UPDATE #1 - 25 November 2022
The way the Serbian media are dressing this up is that it was an armed shoot-out between 'immigrants'. This does not add much; Albanians are immigrants in the Serb perception and the overwhelmingly likely motive for the violence, that has been confirmed to us, is drug gang related.
In any event this is a very serious incident illustrating the extremes to which drug related violence is spiralling in Serbia; and the international community ought to take rthe opportunity to study carefully what happened and how drug gang members, Albanian or otherwise, came to be at the Hungarian border loaded up with small arms.
Incidentally. The fact that all the almedia articles are identical suggests that they are based upon a government press release - i.e. what the Serbian government wants the public to believe about the incident - rather than based upon any independent reportage.
25 November 2022
During Serbia's World Cup match with Brazil in Qatar yesterday evening, between approximately 19:45 and 21:45 CET, hard drug traffickers from Albania / Kosovo / other countries took advantage of the supposedly lax security situation while Serbia was occupied with soccer, to attempt a mass haul of high-margin narcotics from Serbia to Hungary.
However Serbian security services had been following them and at approximately 21:30 CET they moved into make arrests.
What happened next was truly extraordinary: the smugglers drew automatic weapons (i.e. assault rifles) and engaged in a gun battle with Serbian Special Forces in two settlements where their arrest had been foreseen.
The settlements were Horgos, an eqstern suburb of the northern Serbian border town of Subotica (itself a beautiful city replete with Austro-Hungarian architecture); and Martinos, a westerly suburb of Kikinda, another town in northern Serbia on the border with Himgary.
After a couple of hours, the drug smugglers had all been either neutralised or surrendered. We await casualty figures on either side.
Albanian and Kosovar drug gangs have become increasingly daring over recent months, taking advantage of the stall in talks between Belgrade and Pristina about future relations between those territories. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state, and considers Kosovo a part of Serbia. Nevertheless talks on pragmatic issues had been underway for some time, most recently leading to a 'without prejudice' deal in which Serbian border points would recognise Kosovar ID cards for the purposes of entry and exit. That might now be in jeopardy if it proves to be perceived as a 'free ticket' by drug traffickers..
The latest stumbling block has been a declared unilateral intention, under the Prime Minister of Kosovo the hard-line Albin Kurti, to refuse to recognise Serbian car registration plates and to enforce that using Police powers. This has been met with paramilitary hostility by Serbs, causing increased friction between Belgrade and Pristina and a prevailing sense of lawlessness in Northern Kosovo (a part of Kosovo to the north of the Ibar River) the majority population of which is Serbian.
The de facto capital of North Kosovo is Mittovica North. Mitrovica is a divided city dissected by the River Ibar; its north is controlled by Serbian forces and it's south by Kosovar Albanian forces, with an international peacekeeping mission in the middle.
Obviously resolving the border problem - Northern Kosovo is not de facto run by Pristina forces yet it has a wide-open border with the rest of Kosovo - would help massively in stemming the flow of high-margon narcotics such as cocaine and heroin that generally reach the Western Balkans by boat from Valencia (eastern Spain) to Durrës (Albania's principal and largely unregulated port). The borders between Albania and Kosovo are entirely porous; and the border between Kosovo and Serbia will remain porous until such time as a border or land swap deal is agreed between Belgrade and Pristina. At the time of writing Kurti is against any such compromises, and such a deal seems only further away.
At the time of writing none of this has been reported. Our source is military intelligence from an unspecified state. We have had sight of the primary sources, which appear credible to us - there was simply insufficient time to make them up.