What We Know: Migrants stranded after border restrictions

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2016 5:43 PM

Thousands of migrants are stranded at flashpoints near borders across Europe after some Balkan countries close their frontiers to Afghan asylum-seekers and movement slows to a trickle. Here is what we know:

— Countries along a route that migrants take through the Balkans to try to reach countries like Germany and Sweden have closed their borders to certain nationalities. The latest move is against Afghans, who were not allowed to cross from Greece into Macedonia this week, leading to protests on the border and the danger of thousands being stranded in the financially troubled country.

— In Greece, authorities faced with the buildup bused 1,250 Afghans back to Athens on Tuesday. By nightfall, more than 4,000 people, mostly Iraqis and Syrians, were camped in the cold just yards from the border fence. Greece sharply criticized Austria for drastically restricting the number of asylum-seekers it will let cross, which prompted the move by Macedonia.

— The European Union and United Nations criticized the new restrictions, with the EU's executive arm saying it would raise the issue with the countries in question.

— The wave of asylum-seekers has grown in pace even compared to last year's massive influx of more than 1 million people. On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration said more than 102,500 people had crossed into Greece since Jan. 1 and another 7,500 had streamed into Italy — numbers that weren't reached last year until June.