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Thousands of Syrian refugees trek through Macedonia

The refugees are en route to Hungary, an EU member state
A family that managed to pass the barrier is seen at the entrance to the Gevgelija train station, heading from Greece into Macedonia (MEE/Marko Risovic)

Thousands of migrants, mostly Syrian refugees, travelled through Macedonia and Serbia on Sunday towards the EU.

More than 7,000 men, women and children crossed into southern Serbia from Macedonia overnight Saturday to Sunday alone, the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) said, with many more still expected to arrive.

The mass movement came after Macedonian police on Saturday finally re-opened the border with Greece after three days of trying to hold back streams of migrants.

Macedonia had declared a state of emergency on Thursday and sealed off its border to halt the influx, leaving thousands stranded in no-man's land.

On Saturday morning, Macedonian police fired stun grenades on hundreds of refugees trying to force their way through the border, injuring dozens.

However, later in the evening, police allowed the remaining 1,500 migrants into the country.

On the Serbian side of the frontier, UNHCR said it was working with local authorities and charities to provide shelter and food for the new arrivals, but that more supplies were needed, including "sleeping mats, blankets, tents and accommodation halls".

Macedonia and Serbia are not EU member states, but once the refugees make it across Macedonia and Serbia, they’ll be able to cross into Serbia’s northern neighbor Hungary, which is an EU state. Once they reach Hungary, they can travel throughout the EU (except the UK and Ireland) without showing documents at border crossings

Nearly 340,000 migrants have arrived in the EU in the first seven months of this year, according to the bloc's Frontex border agency.

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