Greece removes stranded refugees at Macedonia border

Greece begins to remove refugees stranded at border with Macedonia, also blocks railway traffic

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An estimated 3,000 asylum seekers are stuck at Macedonia's border with Greece

A police official said Greek police have started removing hundreds of refugees stuck at the Greek-Macedonian border and have blocked railway traffic on Wednesday.

While non-EU Balkan states have started filtering refugees by nationality, some 1,200 refugees demanding to move to Macedonia in order to go to northern Europe were stuck near the northern Greek town of Idomeni.

Refugees who were mostly from Pakistan, Morocco and Iran would be taken to Athens on buses and will be located to migration centres before being sent back to their home countries, the police official said.

Balkan states started to block refugee passages in November to all except for Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans for they are seen as refugees fleeing away from their homelands which are war zones.

Macedonia built a metal fence to keep others out and intends to extend it to cover more than 40 km of the border.

While hundreds of thousands of people made their way into Europe, mostly through Greece, in 2015, several clashes took place one of which flared in the last two weeks between police who blocked the Greek-Macedonian crossing and the railway line running between the two countries and the refugees.

More than 600,000 people have reached Greece this year from Turkey through surrounding islands by boats or rubber dinghies.

Thousands of people drowned during this short but perilous journey.

In a recent incident, a coastguard official said that the bodies of 11 people, including five children, were recovered after their wooden boat sank off the island of Farmakonisi in the early hours on Wednesday. The officials said, 23 people were rescued, but 13 people still remain missing.


TRTWorld and agencies