Serbia then shut its borders to everyone apart from those who stated they would seek asylum in Germany and Austria, leading to a situation where several hundred people found themselves effectively trapped in Macedonia.
"The first group of migrants will be taken by train to [the Serbian border], another train is expected today which will go to [the Greek border]. The border authorities state that all refugees who are nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria can cross the Serbian border if they claim asylum in Austria or Germany," the Macedonian Interior Ministry said in a statement, as quoted by the Plusinfo portal.
Last year saw an unprecedented wave of migration to Europe, with over one million migrants arriving to European shores, according to International Organization for Migration data. Over 1.5 million illegal border crossings were detected by the EU border agency Frontex between the beginning of 2015 and mid-December.