Closure of FYROM-Greece Border May Lead to New Migrant Routes
On 23 February 2016, the government of the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) announced the closure of its border with Greece to all migrants, except refugees from Syria and Iraq (who make up 65% of all people arriving in Greece from Turkey according to the United Nations High Council on Refugees). With 12,000 migrants gathered in the refugee camp at Eidomeni, the humanitarian situation is reportedly becoming dire.
In early March, some non-Syrian/Iraqi migrants in Athens reported they were still heading to Eidiomeni despite knowing the restrictions. An Afghan woman reported:
A Syrian staying in the passenger waiting area, after the refugee camp located at Athen’s Port of Piraeus became overcrowded, reported considering new routes to reach Germany:
Greek media reported Arabic language fliers of an unknown origin appeared among some refugees and migrants with instructions describing where to cross a tributary of the Konska River into FYROM west of Eidomeni. As FYROM continues to tighten security on its border, migrants may try to use areas around Kakavia on the Greek-Albanian border to continue to other parts of Europe. If the flow of migrants and refugees shifts westward within Greece, this may cause the humanitarian center of gravity to shift to areas of the country not yet prepared for that contingency.