In order to put these instructions in practice, the Serbian military used force, committed massacres and genocide on the Albanians, who were forced to leave their homes and run away. These morose scenes were prescribed objectively by a teacher from Leskovac, Josif H. Kostic, who was a witness of these tragic events: “In the winter, very cold and frosty, of 1877-1878, I saw people running away, weakly dressed and barefoot, that had abandoned their warm and wealthy rooms ... On the way from Grdelica to Vranje, all the way to Kumanova, on both sides of the road corpse of children and old people could be seen that had died of the cold”.34
Another witness, Sreten Popovic, confirmed the same thing: “I saw frozen children that were falling on their mothers' embrace, or were carried in cradles. When mothers saw their children had died of the frost, they left them on the road side and continued running away. Corpses of old persons that had died of the cold could be seen on road sides.” Plundering, burning down the houses, killing and the frost were misfortunes that accompanied the great wave of forceful displacement of the Albanians from their own land in that unforgotten winter.
This harsh situation was confirmed also by the Commissary of the Serbian border, the English John Ross, who, apart from others, when dealing with the situation he had seen, wrote the following: “Almost all the inhabitants of the western part of the Sanjac of Niš, who surrendered to Serbia, were the Albanians of the Muslim religion..., therefore, when this district was occupied by Serbian military, the population could not stand up to the invaders. All of them left for the Vilayet of Kosova, deserting in this way the whole country.”37
It is evaluated that there were “60,000 Albanian refugees spread out in the Vilayet of Kosova in 1878. They have never gone back to their former villages, as most of them had lost everything.