Serbia, Macedonia limit passage of refugees

UN says Serbia, Macedonia have started putting limits on passage of Syrians Iraqis, Afghans

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Screenshot from footage by Reuters shows fence on Macedonian southern border with Greece to limit flow of refugees.

Updated Nov 20, 2015

The United Nations said on Thursday that Serbia and Macedonia have started limiting the passage of refugees to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans and are turning back Africans and Asians.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melita Sunjic said on Thursday "As of 6 pm [1600 GMT] yesterday evening Serbia started turning back [to Macedonia] all but Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans."

"Macedonia closed the border around 3 am and some 100 people remained stranded in no-man's land," she added.

A Macedonian police source said on condition of anonymity that his country started doing the same as Slovenia, a European Union member which has restricted the path of refugees through its borders.

"They will turn back all others on the basis they are economic migrants [refugees]," the official said.

Refugees are fleeing war and poverty, and are travelling through Balkans attempting to reach western and northern Europe. Most of the migrants and refugees are Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.

In September, Macedonia announced it would build a border fence to restrict the enormous flow of refugees trying to pass through the Balkans to Europe. 

The Europe is dealing with the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Around 850,000 migrants have arrived in Europe in 2015. According to UNICEF, approximately 106,000 children applied for asylum in Europe in the first half of 2015, up by nearly 74 percent from the same period the previous year.

European countries are attempting to control the borders especially after the recent DAESH terrorist attacks in the French capital of Paris where 129 people were killed and 200 injured.


TRTWorld and agencies