The Greco-Serbian Route (Europe)

A man searching through donated clothes at the Bapska border crossing. (A. Zavallis)
Refugees sleeping at a car park near the train station in central Belgrade. (A. Yallop/MSF)
Katsikas refugees camp in Greece. (B. Fert)
Members of the Yazidi community protesting threats against them. (B. Fert)
Elleniko camp in Greece. (S. Prestianni)
A kindergarden in the Katsikas camp, Greece. (Kawa /Jungle Eye)
People queue for food and blankets outside an abandoned railway in Belgrade. (M. Drobnjakovic)
Refugees charge their phones at a park in Belgrade, Serbia. (M. Drobnjakovic)
A man shaves in the warehouse in Serbia. (G. Gillie/MSF)

General view of Moria in the Greek island of Lesvos. (MSF)

 
 
 

The Greco-Serbian route is a major path for people attempting to escape war, persecution, poverty, and instability to reach asylum in the European continent, particularly when there are no safe alternatives in place. While the pathway has been used for decades, in recent times the large influx of people moving through the trail has drawn significant spotlight.

Until March 2016, thousands were arriving on Greek islands daily before continuing their journeys across Europe. However, the closure of the Balkan route and the EU deal with Turkey in March left migrants and refugees stranded, without access to basic services, adequate shelter or information on their legal status.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) shifted its focus from providing lifesaving surgery and medical care to people on the move, to addressing the specific needs of those stuck in limbo In Greece. MSF conducted 72,740 health consultations and 8,207 individual mental health consultations in 2016.

At one of the later points along the migration trail, and one of the most severe for people, is Serbia. Since 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided medical and psychological assistance channels for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Serbia and in 2016, the international humanitarian and medical organization conducted more than 18,000 consultations, and focused on providing services to undocumented migrants living in abandoned train depots, without access to healthcare.

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Greece / Serbia 39.255120, 25.935974

GPS: No specific coordinates

Where refugees come from
Along the Greco-Serbian trail, most of the people are from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, with a mix of other nationalities from Asia and and also from African countries.

Other nearest refugee camps
Along the trail there are multiple camps, centres, and makeshift homes that people and NGOs have constructed in order to ease the immense hardships as much as possible.

What do people say about Greco-Serbia Route

Afghan refugee
48 year old man from Afghanistan

We arrived 5 days ago on Lesbos Island and the authorities brought us to Moria camp. They put us under a big plastic shelter, which is nothing else except a hard surface. ..read more

MSF Employee
MSF Mental Health Activity Manager in Lesvos

Self-harm and suicidality are quite prevalent with this current refugee population. It is common to see scars from cutting or cigarette burns on patients’ arms and legs, and many share thoughts of wishing to drown themselves or fall from a tall building or cliff. ..read more

Mohammed Asif
A 37-year-old painter, graphic designer, and art teacher from Herat, Afghanistan in Elliniko camp

Every day that passes, I see my dream of organising a European exhibition tour fade away, but I don’t give up. ..read more

Mukhtar
Somali refugee, age 24

I left Somalia in December 2014. The journey was very long and dangerous. I travelled via Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In Turkey I went to the office of the UN to get legal status, but in Turkey, there is nothing for refugees; there are no jobs, and if you have a problem there is no one to help. ..read more

Nada
Syrian refugee from Deir al-Zur in Syria in New Kavala camp

Yesterday, many police officers turned up at Idomeni, they were wearing strange clothes, they came from everywhere telling us to leave. We were scared they would use tear gas. I have seven children. I was worried something would happen to my children. Everyone was scared. The police were armed. All the families were scared for their children. ..read more

Sarah
A 20-year-old refugee in Greece from Wakiso district, Uganda

Our father was killed in Uganda by a neighboring tribe, in a land dispute. Some people helped us to get to Kenya because they knew our father and were thinking that the tribe was going to kill us too. Someone then directed us to go to Turkey and then to Greece.   ..read more

Christopher Stokes
Former MSF General Director who had visited Serbia at the time

People tell us that they are beaten, made to lie on the ground while police officers stomp on them wearing boots, that their clothes and shoes are often confiscated in the snow so that they have to walk back to Serbia barefoot through the cold. ..read more

Yana
Syrian mother, age 25, with two young children in Greece

We lived in the city of Deir Azzor. At home there is war – rockets and planes dropping bombs. In Syria, we had no one to defend us against the fighting – no source of protection. ..read more

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Facilities in Greco-Serbian Route

Food & Drink

Internet

Education

Health

Sanitary Facilities

Security

Social Activities

Reasons why people choose Greco-Serbian Route

   No safe alternatives

Estimated number of people using this route in 2017 (Jan-Sept): 23,334

Shatila Camp (Lebanon)

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Nduta Camp (Tanzania)

Despite its scale and huge population, Nduta camp is not widely known. Situated in Tanzania`s north-western Kigoma region, close to the border with Burundi, it is now the size of a small town. Though the number of new arrivals has decreased since April 2017, prior to that month there has been a huge influx in Burundian refugees seeking safety in the camp, which has become severely overcrowded....

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Domiz Camp (Iraq)

Located 60 kilometres away from the Syrian border, the refugee camp of Domiz 1, established in response to an influx of refugee from northern Syria, has quickly turned into a “Little Syria” within Iraqi Kurdistan. With a population of more than  32,000 currently spread over 1,142,500 m²;  Domiz 1 is the biggest refugee camp in Iraq.The camp was hastily established on site of a former army base in Dohuk...

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Dadaab Camp (Kenya)

The Dadaab refugee camp complex is situated in northeastern Kenya, near the border with Somalia. Until early 2017, it consisted of five refugee camps. However, one of the camps, Kambioos, which was also the newest, was recently closed as refugees began returning to Somalia and the few remaining moved into the other camps.Dadaab was established in the year 1991 following the beginning of the civil war...

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Greco-Serbian Route

The Greek-Serbian route is a major path for people attempting to escape war, persecution, poverty, and instability to reach asylum in the European continent, particularly when there are no safe alternatives in place. While the pathway has been used for decades, in recent times the large influx of people moving through the trail has drawn significant spotlight. Until March 2016, thousands were arriving on Greek...

Look now!