Refugees to be deported after being found near Serbia
Police in North Macedonia say they have discovered 21 migrants from Pakistan, Iraq and Syria left in the woods after the driver abandoned the vehicle carrying them near the border with Serbia.
Police said in a statement late Friday that a patrol had tried to stop a jeep near the border crossing of Tabanovce, but the driver had run away. Police are still searching for the driver.
Police then searched the area and discovered the migrants hidden in the woods almost 24 hours later.
They have been transferred to a migrants' transit center and will be deported to Greece. Officially closed since 2015, the so-called Balkan route is still used by refugees traveling from Greece to wealthier European Union countries.
Over a million people, many fleeing the war in Syria, crossed to European Union member Greece from Turkey in 2015 after the onset of the bloc's worst migration crisis since World War II.
Turkey struck a deal with the EU in 2016 in a effort to stem the flow of migrants into Europe, and agreed to take back illegal migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives including financial aid.
The refugee crisis in Europe has been used by far-right figures to spread their divisive ideology.