Thousands of refugees cross into Serbia from Macedonia

Macedonian authorities let refugees cross borders into Serbia

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Migrants wait to be registered at a refugee center in the town of Presevo, Serbia, on August 24, 2015, after crossing into the country from Macedonia.

Thousands of tired refugees mostly from the Middle East, Asia and Africa crossed the Macedonia-Serbia border by walking to find a better life in Western Europe on Monday, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

The crossing over Serbian border occurred after Macedonian authorities lifted the border blockade on refugees that came from Greece.

Macedonian authorities had not given permission to around 10,000 of refugees mostly women, babies and children to cross the border as police stopped them by using force and tear gas on them.

A few hundred of refugees entered Macedonia from Greece on Monday as well. Macedonian police gradually allowed those injured in scuffles and a pregnant refugee from Aleppo, Syria to pass. 

The main aim of refugees in Macedonia is to take a train to go to Hungary via Serbia.

The attraction of Hungary is that Hungary is a member of the European Union (EU) and most importantly it is a Schengen Zone state. Refugees in order to travel around EU countries must enter a Schengen zone member country.

Recently the refugee situation bothered EU politicians in the topic of humanitarian crisis and that most problematical reactions come from far-right groups that exist in EU states.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz visited Macedonia on Wednesday to evaluate and to take more measures for the situation.

"This is a humanitarian disaster. This is a real disaster for the whole European Union and I think there is the real need to have more focus on this problem, not only on the route through Italy but also on the route on the Western Balkans," Kurz said.

Imad Shoumali, a refugee from Syria expressing to the Austrian foreign minister that they don’t have any other choice other than fleeing Syria said "to come here, to find safe zone, to find good future for us, for our family, for our kids."

"We lost everything in Syria, you have to help us to finish the war in Syria," Shoumali said adding "If you finish now I am back from this point, directly. I don't like to come to Europe," the AP reports.

"I'm not a terrorist. We are humans. Where's the humanity? Where's the world? Everyone here, they are families," adding

"We don't need anything. We don't need money. Let us cross. I want to go to Germany," Ahmed Satuf, another refugee from Idlib in Syria told Al Jazeera before the permission of crossing.

Last week Macedonian government declared a state of emergency on the border with Greece and deployed riot police and armoured vehicles to stem the flow of migrants into the country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned the protests in Heidenau, near Dresden that took place on Saturday against refugees and she described the reaction as “repulsive,” Reuters reports.

This month Germany revised its number of estimated refugees from 450,000 to 800,000.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said "It must be clear that we don't give a single millimetre to these far-right mobs," adding "These are people that have nothing to do with Germany. This is not the Germany we want."

On the other side Merkel and French President Francois Hollande got together in Berlin, Germany on Monday to find a solution to the refugee issue.

Holland said after the meeting with Merkel, "We must put in place a unified system for the right to asylum," adding "An exceptional situation that will last for some time."

Frontex, which is the agency of the EU that manages the cooperation among national border guards including those from undocumented immigration, human trafficking and terrorist infiltration, reported last week that 107,000 migrants were at the bloc's borders last month, with 20,800 arriving in Greece last week alone.

Main route of refugees in Europe is the Balkans and Italy. Statistics by the UN show that up to 60 million people fled to other countries due to war, violence and persecutions in 2014.

According to data of International Organisation for Migration, where most deaths that occurred in the world is the Mediterranean.

During the last eight and a half months 2,300 people died on the migration way. 102,000 people arrived in Italy, up to 135,000 people in Greece and almost 2,200 in Spain.



TRTWorld and agencies