As the wind sweeps in south from the Klina freeway and the daylight cedes to dusk, the sleepy northern-Kosovan town of Skenderaj could be a thousand miles from anywhere. Spring has started. The cold, though, is perishing.
Dust kicks up off the road where the route in and out of town veers off to join a tarmacked forecourt from where the last bus service of the day has just departed for the capital. Two children kick a well-worn football up against the wall of the bus station, its leather panels flapping as it bounces back off the corrugated steel, the stitching long since having been eaten away by months, perhaps years of play on the dirty concrete.
Ditched at the edge of a sprawling mass of rural nothingness, Skenderaj seems almost frozen in time. There is little left now that hints at the horror that occured here exactly 20 years ago last month. It was here in Prekaz province, just a few dozen kilometres from the capital Pristina, that a seven-year stand-off between the Serb-led authorities in the autonomous province and the mostly Albanian population came to a head. This was the birthplace of Kosovo’s war.