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Thursday, June 10, 1999 Published at 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK

World: Europe

Eyewitness: Inside Kosovo

Thousands of refugees are hiding in Kosovo's hills

The BBC's Paul Wood walked for 14 hours through the mountains of Kosovo to meet some of those forced from their homes.

Paul Wood reports from inside Kosovo
His exclusive report was brought out of the province by hand, through minefields and active front lines.

Thousands of displaced Kosovo Albanians did not make it past the province's borders to Albania or Macedonia.

Many of those left inside Kosovo took to the high ground and are living in the open on the hills, as refugees in their own country.

Survival despite hardships

Kosovo: Special Report
The camp I visit is filled mainly by women and children - the men folk are missing or away fighting for the KLA.

There is little food and no medicines, but people are surviving.

However, the children, in particular, show increasing signs of malnutrition.

[ image: Babies have been born in the open]
Babies have been born in the open
One baby, who has spent all but three days of her young life in the forest, is in serious need of treatment and proper nutrition.

Another, one of several born in the woods, is called 'Victory' in Albanian.

Her mother says that giving birth in the forest was sheer hell.

Homes burned

This encampment - one among hundreds - is just a few hours walk away from the refugees' towns and villages.

[ image: The refugees no longer have homes to go back to]
The refugees no longer have homes to go back to
Some people inside the province are camped out almost in sight of their homes.

But they say the burned houses in nearby villages are evidence of the Serbian campaign to drive people away.

They attribute the damage to the actions of Serbian paramilitaries, not Nato, or the heat of conflict.

With most villages and nearby towns in the same state, Nato will find a land both deserted and devastated when its forces finally get there.

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