Ohrid–Debar uprising

The Ohrid–Debar uprising (Macedonian: Охридско-Дебaрско вoстание, romanizedOhridsko-Debarsko vostanie; Bulgarian: Охридско-Дебърско въстание, romanizedOhridsko-Debarsko vastanie) (Albanian: Kryengritja e Ohrit dhe Dibrës) was an uprising by the population in Western Macedonia, then Kingdom of Serbia, in September 1913. It was organized by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and Albania against the Serbian capture of the regions of Ohrid, Debar and Struga after the Balkan Wars (1912–13).

Ohrid–Debar Uprising
Part of the aftermath of the Second Balkan War
Date23 September 1913–7 October 1913

Serbian-Greek Victory

  • Suppression of uprising
Albanian Kachaks
Commanders and leaders
Isa Boletini
Petar Chaulev
Milan Matov
Ismail Strazimiri
Anton Shibakov
Elez Isufi
Radomir Putnik
Unknown Bulgarians
6,000 Albanians
100,000 Serbs
Unknown Greeks
Casualties and losses
Thousands killed
Tens of thousands of Bulgarians fled to Bulgaria
25,000 Albanians fled to Albania


The IMRO had discussions with the Albanian revolutionary committee of Sefedin Pustina at Elbasan, Albania, between 12 and 17 August 1913.[2] It was agreed that an uprising would be started against Serbia.[2] A directive dated 21 August planned for a new fighting against Serbia and Greece in Vardar Macedonia and Greek Macedonia.[3] The IMRO leadership decided for a rebellion in Bitola, Ohrid and Debar, and rallied Petar Chaulev, Pavel Hristov, Milan Matov, Hristo Atanasov, Nestor Georgiev, Anton Shibakov, Ismail Strazimiri[4] and others in those regions.[3]


The rebellion started only two months after the end of the Second Balkan War. The insurgency sought to challenge Serb control of the region.[5] The Albanian government organised armed resistance and 6,000 Albanians under the command of Isa Boletini, the Minister of War, crossed the frontier.[6][page needed] After an engagement with Serbian forces the Albanian forces took Debar and then marched, together with a Bulgarian band led by Petar Chaulev,[6][page needed] Milan Matov and Pavel Hristov expelled the Serbian army and officials, creating a front line 15 km east of Ohrid. However, another band was checked with a loss at Mavrovo. Within a few days they captured the towns of Gostivar, Struga and Ohrid, temporarily expelling the Serbian troops. At Ohrid they set up a local government and held the hills towards Resen for four days.[6][page needed] During the conflict, the Hellenic Army assisted Serb troops to quash the uprising.[1] The suppression of the uprising resulted in heavy use of violence by Serb forces.[5] Scholar Edvin Pezo states that depictions of Albanians as 'uncultured' and ‘primitive’ by Serb nationalists of the time were a possible reason for the extensive violence perpetrated upon Albanians during the First Balkan War and subsequent Ohrid–Debar uprising.[5] The defeat of the uprising by Serb forces resulted in tens of thousands of Albanian refugees arriving in Albania from Western Macedonia.[7]

CEIP reportEdit

According to the International Commission of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report, a Serbian army of 100,000 regulars suppressed the uprising. Thousands were killed, and tens of thousands fled to Bulgaria and Albania. Many Bulgarians were imprisoned or shot, a number of Albanian and Bulgarian villages were burned. The number of ethnic Albanian refugees from Macedonia was 25,000.[8]


After the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia, Macedonian and Albanian historians discussed the historical cooperation of the two ethnic groups and their joint struggle against their perceived common enemies, including the Serbian government. The 1913 rebellion was the subject of a 2013 conference.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Pezo 2017, p. 67
  2. ^ a b Institut za nacionalna istorija 2000, p. 72.
  3. ^ a b Razsukanov 1998.
  4. ^ "Ismail Strazimiri: Libri ne formen e tij origjinale botuar ne 1931". July 13, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Pezo 2017, p. 66
  6. ^ a b c Pearson 2004, p. ?.
  7. ^ Pezo, Edvin (2017). "Violence, Forced Migration, and Population Policies During and After the Balkan Wars (1912-14)". In Boeckh, Katrin; Rutar, Sabine (eds.). The Balkan Wars from Contemporary Perception to Historic Memory. Springer. p. 70. ISBN 9783319446424.
  8. ^ Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, published by the Endowment Washington, D.C. 1914, p. 182
  9. ^ Denise Bentrovato; Karina V. Korostelina; Martina Schulze (10 October 2016). History Can Bite: History Education in Divided and Postwar Societies. V&R unipress GmbH. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-3-8471-0608-1.


External linksEdit