Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty. Many of them have been taking the Western Balkan route, which crosses Greece, using the county as an entry point into the bloc from which they travel to wealthier EU states where they intend to apply for asylum.
Last month, Macedonia closed its border with Greece to incoming migrants after other countries along the Balkan migration route closed their borders, including Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. The closure of borders along the Western Balkan route has resulted in thousands of refugees being stranded in Greece, particularly along the border with Macedonia.
According to the International Organization for Migration, since the beginning of 2016 nearly 155,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, with nearly 144,000 coming through Greece.