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Afghan Migrants Rejected at Greece-Macedonia Border

  • VOA News

Afghan refugees stage a rally demanding to be allowed by the Greek police to reach the borderline with Macedonia, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016.

Afghan refugees stage a rally demanding to be allowed by the Greek police to reach the borderline with Macedonia, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016.

Macedonia is turning away Afghan migrants but allowing other nationalities to enter from Greece, Greek police said Sunday, as European countries struggle to process more than 100,000 refugee and migrant arrivals since the beginning of the year.

A Macedonian police spokeswoman denied the border was closed to Afghans, and instead blamed Serbian restrictions, the Associated Press reported. Serbian officials in turn blamed Austria and Hungary.

Syrians and Iraqis were allowed to enter Macedonia Sunday, however.

The majority of migrants and refugees who arrive in Greece cross into Macedonia as they seek other destinations in Northern and Western Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration. U.N. data indicates that since January 1, migrants arriving by sea are overwhelmingly Syrian - 41 percent - with Afghanistan trailing at 27 percent, followed by Iraqis at 16 percent.

The current trail passes from Macedonia into Serbia, then onward to Hungary or Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.

With the reported restricted crossing on Sunday, about 1,000 migrants were stuck at Greece's Idomeni border crossing, with thousands more waiting on buses nearby, the AP reported.

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