Here's What's Happening:
- Syrians escaping from war and persecution are fleeing to Europe, joined by people from Afghanistan, Iraq, and a number of African nations.
- The EU said that some 500,000 migrants had crossed into the union's borders in the first eight months of 2015.
- Last week, Hungary closed its border with Serbia and implemented new laws aimed at stemming the flow of refugees and other people entering the country. Police deployed tear gas and water cannons in border clashes.
- Some 14,000 people crossed into Croatia in just over two days after Hungary's borders closed. The country's Prime Minister said they were no longer able to deal with the numbers, and the country could not become a "migrant hotspot." *The EU has imposed a controversial quota system to redistribute 120,000 refugees and migrants around Europe. *A further 1 billion euros has been pledged by the EU to help agencies supporting Syrian refugees.
Croatia lifted its Bajakovo checkpoint blockade at the Serbian border, according to Reuters.
A further 1 billion euros has been pledged by European Union leaders to help U.N. agencies support Syrian refugees in a new effort to stem Europe's growing crisis.
In the emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday night, European leaders agreed to up their financial support of transit countries including Greece, Italy, and Turkey, which are currently hosting millions of refugees.
It was agreed that the EU must strengthen its borders, and that some money would be used to step up identification and finger-printing of refugees in Italy and Greece, The Guardian reported.
Donald Tusk, European Council president, said that "the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come.
"We need to correct the policy of open doors and windows."
The summit was held amid tensions over the controversial quota scheme, announced earlier this week, which will see 120,000 refugees and migrants relocated in Europe. Several member states, including Hungary, which closed its borders last week, oppose the scheme and Slovakia has launched a legal challenge, the BBC reported. The U.K. has exercised its right to opt out of the quota scheme.
European Union’s interior ministers approved a controversial plan on Tuesday to impose a quota system that will see 120,000 refugees and migrants resettled throughout the 28 members of the union.
While the union usually accepts new policies through unanimous consent, in this case a majority vote was called for, with Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary – currently at the center of Europe's incoming refugee movement – all voting against the proposal.
Read BuzzFeed World News editor Hayes Brown's full report here.
The British government has said that it will speed up its refugee resettlement programme in a fresh push to help tackle Europe's growing refugee crisis.
On Sunday, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said that the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) would be given extra resources to help move more Syrian refugees to Britain.
The extra support will allow the UNHCR to identify and prioritize the most vulnerable refugees, including those who need medical attention and who have survived torture.
"Britain has been supporting millions of people caught up in the brutal Syria conflict right from its start four years ago," Greening said. "And we will use our expertise to help speed up the resettlement of 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from the region."
"This is not just morally the right thing to do, but it's also the smart thing to do," she said.
"By taking refugees directly from camps in the region we are ensuring that we reach the most vulnerable, while our aid continues to support others to stay in the region rather than make the perilous journey to Europe," she said.
Earlier this month, Britain agreed to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years from camps in nations around the war-torn country.
Thousands of refugees arrived in Austria on Saturday, as Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia continue to push refugees into neighbouring countries, The Guardian reported.
The Austrian Red Cross told news agency AFP that an estimated 13,000 refugees had arrived on the country on Saturday alone.
After closing its borders on Wednesday, the Hungarian government made an apparent effort to move refugees through the country as quickly as possible, transporting thousands directly to the Austrian border.
Local police said that the were expecting an influx of around 10,000 refugees and migrants on Saturday.
On Sunday, trains at Tovarnik at the Croatia-Serbia were overwhelmed by refugees.
According to the BBC, lack of confirmation of the trains' final destination on the ground meant that refugees were unsure where they were headed.
BuzzFeed News' Rossalyn Warren is at the Croatia-Slovenia border where thousands of refugees are still waiting to cross.
Refugees are being told: "there is no hope in Slovenia," Warren reports.
"Countless buses" are arriving to collect refugees in Croatia according to journalists on the Hungarian border.
The BBC's Anna Holligan reported that buses are taking refugees to Austria.
The Croatian government has said that it has "forced" Hungary to take more refugees, Reuters reported.
During a visit to Beli Manastir near the border on Saturday, Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanovic said "We have in some way compelled them to accept the refugees by sending them [to the Hungarian border] and we'll keep on doing it," The Guardian reported. "There has not been an agreement with Hungary," he added.
Since Hungary closed its border on Tuesday, more than 20,000 refugees have entered Croatia. Milanovic warned it was losing control.
In a response on Twitter, Zoltan Kovac, a spokesperson for the Hungarian prime minister, said that Croatia had "collapsed under pressure", and was breaking EU regulations.
Late on Friday night police used tear gas on refugees, some of whom were children, at the Harmica border crossing after regugees demanded entry to Slovenia, The Telegraph reported.
Refugees in Croatia come up increasingly against a Europe that does not want them.
American officials hope to meet “very shortly” with their Russian counterparts for urgent military talks aimed at resolving the Syrian civil war, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.
For over six hours on Friday, refugees from Syria, Somalia, Iran, and Afghanistan took shade from the heat at the main train station in Zagreb, Croatia.
They had arrived from Serbia after being turned away at the Hungarian border. As locals boarded trains around them with suitcases in hand, the refugees looked on, unsure of whether a train would ever arrive to take them to Slovenia.
"We walked here from Serbia, and slept here overnight," said a Somalian man, traveling with four friends. He said he and the others had fled from poverty and war at home, and now wanted to leave Croatia and head west.
"We now hear Slovenia doesn't want to let us in," the man, who wished to remain anonymous, told BuzzFeed News. "They have to though, we can't stay here. The EU need to do something because people will keep on coming."
Throughout the day, police awaited the arrival of thousands more refugees in trains into the station. Children ran around in the open spaces, and families sat together in circles on blankets under trees. Some refugees had been transported to a nearby refugee centre, while others — fearful they may miss the train to Slovenia — choose to wait on the station platform.
One mother said she had travelled from Damascus, Syria, to meet some of her family in Germany. "We were on a boat in Greece for six hours. We travelled through Serbia on coach. Now, we're sitting here at this station in Croatia, waiting. We're stuck here if they don't let us go," she said.
Rumors that the Slovenia-Croatian border has closed circulate around the train station. Regardless, refugees pack their bags and prepare for the journey to the border, where some had already arrived after taken taxis with inflated prices.
"We will go by train, or we will go by foot," one refugee said as he filled up his water bottle preparing for the move. "Either way, we will be going."
BuzzFeed News' Rossalyn Warren is in Zagreb, Croatia, where she has been meeting with refugees and migrants.
BuzzFeed News correspondent Mike Giglio and contributor Munzer al-Awad report that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is purposefully fueling the exodus of refugees from his war-torn nation. Read their report here.
BuzzFeed News reporter Rossalyn Warren is in Zagreb, Croatia, meeting refugee families. Follow her on Twitter for live updates.
On Friday morning, the Croatian government tweeted that 14,000 refugees had entered the country over the past few days.
Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said Friday that migrants and refugees who have entered the country in the last few days would be "moved on," and that the country could not become a "migrant hotspot," Reuters reported
Speaking at a news conference, Milanovic said:
"We cannot register and accommodate these people any longer. They will get food, water and medical help, and then they can move on. The European Union must know that Croatia will not become a migrant 'hotspot'. We have hearts, but we also have heads."
He added that he had chaired a session of the country's National Security Council after being faced with thousands of refugees and migrants over the last two days, but it was now time for a different approach. He claimed the country had reached capacity, and authorities were no longer able register people in accordance with EU rules, according to AP. He said:
"What else can we do? You are welcome in Croatia and you can pass through Croatia. But, go on. Not because we don't like you but because this is not your final destination."
The remarks came after Croatia closed seven out of its eight road crossings from Serbia, but Milanovic insisted the border would not shut completely.
He said that migrants and refugees would be redirected to Hungary and Slovenia, and on towards western Europe. He may face problems with this, however, as Hungary and Slovenia have taken steps to strengthen their borders in recent days, AP reported.
Overnight, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the country had started building a fence along the country's border with Croatia, Deutsche Welle reported.
Images of chaotic scenes in Tovarnik, Croatia, are emerging after a large number of people broke through a police cordon at a train station where refugees and migrants are being brought from Serbia.
BuzzFeed News' Joshua Hersh is reporting that thousands of people are now running across fields towards buses.
Some 6,200 people had entered Croatia by Thursday morning following Hungary's decision to close its border with Serbia, Croatian police said.
Refugees and migrants are trying to pass through the country on their way to the European Union's borderless Schengen area after Hungary used gas, batons, and water cannons to prevent them crossing into its territory, AP reported.
After bus trips from Serbia, thousands of people crossed Croatian fields on foot and were then directed to buses and trains that took them to centers in Zagreb and other cities. Warnings were issued to prevent people walking along the Serbian border, where the ground still contains land mines from the 1991–95 Balkan war, AP said.
Most refugees and migrants are unlikely to stay in Croatia, which is not in the Schengen zone, and are likely to head to Slovenia, then on through to Austria, Germany, and Scandinavia. However, they may have difficulties in passing through Slovenia, as The Guardian reported:
Slovenia's interior minister, Vesna Gyorkos Znidar, has meanwhile said it will not create a "safe corridor" for refugees to pass through on their way to Germany and Scandinavia but will receive asylum requests and accommodate them.
Austria also introduced border controls with Slovenia Wednesday, The Guardian said.
On Thursday, Slovenia said it would also close its border with Hungary for 10 days.
Meanwhile Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto responded to criticism his government have received from the international community — including from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — over authorities' response to Wednesday's border crisis, AP reported, saying:
I find it bizarre and shocking that certain esteemed international figures have stood on the side of people who for hours were throwing stones and pieces of cement at the Hungarian police. And I'd also like to make it very clear, no matter what criticism I receive, that we will never allow such aggressive people to enter Hungary. Not even for transit purposes.
Hungarian police said they had detained 22 people over the clashes. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said Thursday that a Syrian man who was an "organizer" of the unrest is one of those arrested, and is suspected of "carrying out an act of terrorism," AP reported.
Manfred Schmidt — the German official in charge of migration in the country — quit his post Thursday, the New York Times reported.
On Schmidt's decision to leave the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the Times said:
Germany's Interior Ministry, responsible for the migration office, said that Mr. Schmidt, 56, had cited "personal reasons" for his decision to leave the position he has held for five years.
BuzzFeed News reporter Joshua Hersh was at Serbia's border with Hungary on Wednesday and witnessed the clashes. Read his full report here.
For a broader geopolitical look at what's behind the exodus of Syrian refugees, check out this piece from BuzzFeed News correspondents Borzou Daragahi and Max Seddon exploring Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war.
A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said he was "alarmed by the disturbing events" on Hungary's border with Serbia. He also released a statement from UNHCR:
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his government is preparing to erect fences on the country's border with Croatia, where many refugees have begun heading after Hungary shutdown its border with Serbia.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Presse, Orban said that "there are already plans" for the fence along the Croatian and Romanian borders with Hungary.
"The real power is not in the fence," he said. "We have new laws with harsh penalties for illegal migrants. And we have sent to the border police and the army. This should make it clear that although migrants can apply for asylum, they must adhere to rules."
Orban said that by trying to choose the country in which they apply for asylum, the refugees were not adhering to international law.
When asked if he was satisfied with his country's fence on the Serbian border, Orban replied: "Satisfied is a shunned expression in Hungarian politics. Who would be so crazy to say that we are satisfied when countless migrants are coming and we have to stop them? Satisfaction is something for the Rolling Stones."
The Hungarian leader said he believed Muslims posed a threat to Europe's traditional Christian identity. "Despite sincere efforts by Western governments, Muslim communities have not integrated," he said. "If a nation wants parallel societies, then she has the right to do so. We Hungarians do not want parallel societies."
He added, "If you allow Muslims in our continent, they will soon be more than us."
Serbian officials have protested Hungary's use of tear gas and water cannons against refugees and migrants, the Associated Press reported.
Hungarian riot police had been trying to stop refugees and migrants from entering the country from Serbia.
Speaking on state television, Serbian minister Aleksandar Vulin expressed "the harshest possible protest" over the actions of Hungarian police, according to the AP.
"Hungary must show it is ready and capable to accept these people," he said.
With Hungary's border with Serbia closed, migrants and refugees have been heading instead for the Serbia's border with Croatia. Read more about their new route through Europe here.
Photos from reporters at Hungary's border with Serbia show police clashing with the refugees and migrants.
Some of the refugees hurled stones and rocks at the riot police.
Hungarian officials deployed tear gas, in addition to water cannon, to quell the unrest.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said his government would hire 900 additional police and security officials to deal with the refugee crisis.
Valls also said France would open welcome centers for refugees in the countries where many first arrive from the Middle East, including Italy, Greece, and Hungary.
"To say, 'We must close them out,' is to close our eyes to the refugees who are dying at our doorstep," Valls said.
"To say, 'We must be open to them all,' is to close your eyes to the difficulties of French society."
A live stream from ABC News showed smoke billowing from fires lit on Hungary's border with Serbia.
Footage also showed young men standing on the roof of a duty free shop, hurling objects.
Amnesty International has released this video of its workers inspecting Hungary's fortified border with Serbia on Tuesday.
Hungarian police deployed water cannons and used tear gas on refugees and others in clashes at the country's now-closed border with Serbia Wednesday afternoon.
After Hungary closed its border with Serbia Tuesday, a large number of refugees changed their route into the European Union's borderless Schengen zone Wednesday, and are now traveling through Croatia. Read more here.
Hungarian police on Tuesday briefly detained an AP journalist who had filmed an incident between officers and a migrant near Roszke.
Luca Muzi, a freelance journalist with the Associated Press, was detained by Hungarian police and forced to delete his video footage, according to the news organization.
Muzi was filming refugees near Roszke when officer moved in to stop people from walking further while a muzzled police dog attacked a Syrian man, knocking him to the ground, according to the AP. Police forced Muzi to delete the footage, which included two days worth of work. They also refused to let Muzi call his editors or the two other AP journalists working with him, he said.
In a statement, Senior Managing Editor for AP's International News John Daniszewski called the officers' behavior "unacceptable," adding that he hopes Hungarian and European officers "respect the rights of journalists to perform their jobs in covering the migrants and refugees, as well as their interactions with authorities, without interference"
Kovacs disputed the account on Tuesday, denying any allegations that officers forced Muzi to delete footage or that they had earlier let a dog attack a refugee.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Muzi for comment.
Turkish coast guards said at least 22 people died when a boat traveling from the resort town of Ducla towards Kos, Greece capsized in the Aegean Sea, the privately owned Dogan News Agency reported.
The vessel — an old wooden tourist boat — was carrying more than 200 people when it capsized.
Four children and 11 women were among the dead, and 211 people were rescued, coastguards said.
Survivors were taken back to port in Bodrum, Turkey, where ambulances were waiting to take them to the hospital, Dogan reported.
Hungary implemented tough new laws and closed its border with Serbia overnight Monday in a bid to stem the flow of refugees and migrants into the country.
Here are today's developments from the Hungarian-Serbian border. You can read more here.
* The new laws will allow Hungarian police to arrest and charge anyone illegally crossing the country's border from Serbia — the outer frontier of the EU's borderless Schengen area. * Hungarian authorities said 60 people had been arrested under the new legislation Tuesday afternoon, and that they planned to press charges. * Hungary completed its new razor wire border fence Monday, and sealed off a popular railway crossing overnight. * The new legislation has deemed Serbia a "safe" country, and will allow Hungary to deport refugees there. However, a Serbian minister said they would not accept any people turned back from Hungary, and that the crossing would have to be reopened. * Hungary declared a state of emergency in two southern counties Tuesday, which would allow them to send in the military to help police at the border. * Long queues have formed at the Hungarian-Serbian border. Dozens of refugees were filmed chanting for Hungary to open the border Tuesday afternoon, while others went on hunger strike. * The EU border agency Frontex said Tuesday that 500,000 migrants had crossed into the union's borders in the first eight months of 2015.
Hungarian police closed a major refugee crossing area near Roszke.
Hungarian police stopped hundreds of refugees seeking to enter Hungary along the rail line near Roszke by setting up a razor wire line across the tracks, according to the AP. Police told the refugees to walk to Hungary's nearest approved border crossing about one mile away.
Pope Francis warned in a radio interview Monday that militants posing as refugees could sneak into Europe.
Pope Francis discussed the potential risk of ISIS militants coming into Europe along with other refugees in an interview broadcasted Monday with the Portuguese Catholic broadcaster Radio Renascenca, according to Reuters.
"Nowadays, territorial security conditions are not the same as they were in other periods (of mass migration)," he said. "The truth is that just 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true."
In northern Greece, a large crowd of migrants and refugees gathered near the village of Idomeni to cross into Macedonia.
Thirty-four people — including children and infants — drowned Sunday off the coast of Greece, the Greek coast guard said.
In a statement, Greek Marine Minister Christos Zois described the deaths off the island of Farmakonisi as a shocking tragedy. He called for a coordinated European strategy to handle the refugee and migrant crisis in a way to preserve human life and dignity.
Almost half of those who died when the wooden boat overturned were children, including three infants, five girls, and six boys. The nationalities of the dead were not immediately known.
It appeared to be the largest death toll in Greek waters since the recent mass migration of Syrian refugees began, Reuters reported.
According to the coast guard, 68 other people from the boat were rescued and 30 others from the boat were found to have made it to the island.
Germany's national rail service, Deutsche Bahn, announced Sunday it would be suspending rail service between Austria and Germany for 12 hours on the instructions of federal authorities.
Germany will temporarily reintroduce border controls as it struggles to cope with a flood of thousands of refugees and migrants from neighboring Austria, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said Sunday.
In a statement on Facebook, the minister said the focus of border controls will be with Austria, with the hope that such a measure will help authorities bring more order and control to the current tide of thousands.
Border controls go against the European Union's Schengen system, which mandates free and open travel between member states.
However, Germany says the temporary measures are necessary because of the "great helpfulness" the country has shown in welcoming so many refugees.
"The introduction of temporary border controls will not solve all the problems. We know that," De Maizière said. "But we need just a little more time and a certain degree of order at our borders."
The minister also called on other E.U. member nations to "abide by the rules" that mandate refugees must apply for asylum in the country in which they first arrive.
The new border controls will allow Germany to turn away migrants who are not refugees fleeing war or persecution, according to the New York Times.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had warned earlier on Sunday that the country was "nearing the brink" in terms of the support it could offer refugees.
Police in Munich said more than 12,200 refugees and migrants arrived in Munich alone on Saturday, while the country received 36,422 applications for asylum in August.
Aid groups hope the global attention currently flowing to the Syrian crisis also leads to a focus on something else: those still in Syria.
More than 12,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Munich Saturday, police said, as authorities warned the German city may be nearing the limit of how many new arrivals it can house.
Writing on Twitter, Munich Police said 12,200 refugees and migrants arrived in the city in one day on Saturday. "The outpouring of help from Munich residents is still impressive!" police said.
However, a police spokesman told the BBC authorities had "reached the upper limit of [their] capacity," with officials scrambling to find accommodation for the new arrivals in Munich, which has been the main entry point for migrants into Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has openly welcomed the refugees into Germany, but Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel used an interview with Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Sunday to warn that his country may be nearing "the brink."
"It is true that European inaction in the refugee crisis now also brings Germany to the brink of what is possible," he said. "It is not primarily the number of refugees, but the speed in which they come to give the German states and municipalities that is so hard to manage."
He called on Germany and the European Union to put together a $1.5 billion humanitarian assistance package of food, shelter, and education programs. Gabriel also called on the Arab Gulf States and the U.S. to match the package.
Gabriel, who is also Germany's minister for energy and the economy, said a new relationship with Russia is needed in order to reignite political efforts to negotiate an end to the Syrian civil war, which he said was the cause of the refugee exodus.
"The keys to ending the war in Syria are in Moscow and Washington," he said.
An NBC reporter took a photo of a young girl offering a Hungarian policeman a cookie during a standoff on the railway tracks near Szeged, Hungary on Tuesday.
Footage has emerged of Hungarian police officers throwing food at a crowd of refugees in a detention camp in Roszke, near the border with Serbia.
Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser, who was delivering aid to the camp and is the wife of Austrian Green Party politician Alexander Spritzendorfer, filmed the scenes. Journalists are not allowed inside the camp by Hungarian authorities, Sky News reported.
Officers — some of whom are seen wearing riot helmets, while others wear surgical masks — were filmed tossing bags of food to refugees, who were separated by temporary wire fences. Hungarian authorities said they were investigating the incident, according to the BBC.
Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser told the BBC that the refugees were being treated like "animals":
These people have been on a terrible tour for three months Most of them have been across the sea now and on the boat and through the forest and they've gone through terrible things and we, as Europe, we keep them there in camps like animals. It's really a responsibility of European politicians to open the borders now.
Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert tweeted that the situation at the Roszke camp is "inhumane."
In a video posted Wednesday, Bouckaert described the camps as a "place of absolute humiliation" and said refugees were "kept in pens, like animals."
One tweet from a city in Germany caused thousands of Syrian Refugees to march from Hungary
As hundreds of Syrian refugees camped out in the plaza of Budapest's Keleti train station last week, a single tweet from a government agency in the southern German city of Nuremberg changed their lives forever.
"We are at present largely no longer enforcing Dublin-procedures for Syrian citizens," the tweet said, posted on the account of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Though written in German, the tweet was quickly circulated online and by word of mouth, confirming suspicious that Germany was no longer enforcing asylum rules requiring refugees to be processed at entry to the country.
The Syrian internet quickly exploded with praise for Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, while the hundreds waiting to leave Hungary began the march toward the German border that caught the world's attention.
Refugee advocates say President Obama’s plan to take in 10,000 additional Syrians is good – but not enough.
"The White House's pledge," Oxfam's Vice President for Police and Campaigns, Paul O'Brien, told BuzzFeed News, "is a start but it just scratches the surface. The US can and must do more to help ensure that thousands of Syrians fleeing violence have the safety and security they need."
Read the full report here.
President Obama has directed the State Department to begin planning to accept 10,00 refugees from Syria in the upcoming fiscal year, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.
Another wave of refugees entered Keleti station in Budapest on Thursday, hoping to travel to Austria.
BuzzFeed News' Rossalyn Warren interviewed refugees at the Greece-Macedonia border who spoke of the sacrifices they made and the dreams put on hold when they fled their respective home countries.
A Unicef representative told BuzzFeed News that it expected 20,000 more refugees to pass through Gevgelija over the next several days. Here is how that volume compares to other capacities:
Denmark closed cross-border road and rail routes from Germany for several hours on Wednesday following a surge in refugees attempting to get to Sweden.
The highway connecting the Danish peninsula Jutland to Germany was closed Wednesday when around 300 migrants, including children, began walking along it, Reuters reported.
It was reopened Thursday, but some limits on traffic remained.
The country's train operator also said it would resume cross-border rail services from Germany Thursday after they were suspended following a standoff between refugees and police, AFP reported.
Scandinavia's busiest ferry crossing to Germany — at Rodby, Denmark — would remain closed to trains following the refugee surge, authorities said, according to AFP.
On Thursday, Danish authorities backtracked on their earlier decision to insist all refugees and migrants registered in the country, and said they would not prevent people transiting through the country on their way to other Nordic nations, AP said.
"We can't detain foreigners who do not want to seek asylum (in Denmark). Therefore, there is no other option than to let them go, and we cannot prevent them from traveling wherever they want," police chief Jens Henrik Hoejbjerg said Thursday.