World Bulletin/News Desk
Macedonia's Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska has called on the EU for assistance with refugees fleeing conflict who are crossing Balkan countries on their way to Europe.
Her call came on Monday following reports in Macedonia of an increase in the numbers of refugees crossing Balkan states.
Jankulovska told Anadolu Agency (AA): "We have never seen such huge pressure on some Balkan countries in history."
"We are seeing dozens of thousands of refugees - in some countries, even hundreds of thousands - who are fleeing war-affected countries and trying to reach western Europe," she said.
According to Macedonia's Interior Ministry, seven migrants lost their lives in the country over the past two weeks as they walked along a railroad on their way to Serbia, before they intended to head north.
Two brothers aged 22 and 23 who were fleeing from Syria were run over by a train on the railroad in the village of Gradsko, central Macedonia, on November 13, according to local media reports.
An Afghan father and his 45 day-old baby also lost their lives on the same railroad on November 5 - four days after a 22-year-old Afghan and his father were killed, Interior Ministry officials told AA.
A 55-year-old Syrian died on the same road on November 2 while on, November 10, the body of an unidentified person was found nearby, they said.
A total of 28 illegal migrants who were being smuggled by Macedonians were arrested on the rail track in the past week, of which 25 were Syrians, three Somalis and one a Sudanese, according to the ministry.
Anita Stojkovska, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry of the Velesa municipality in central Macedonia, told AA that there were no complaints from citizens about migrants, as they looked like "sleepy people who are crossing dangerous roads on their way to a better tomorrow".
A source who declined to be named at the Asylum Center in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, told AA it takes migrants who walk along the dangerous key rail line between three and five days to cross Macedonia.
'Hiding by day'
The level of danger was increased as migrants hid during the day and walked during the night, when most of the accidents happened.
Local residents told AA there had been no problems with the migrants to date.
As a country which has not experienced the effects of war over the last few decades, Macedonia has sheltered many refugees.
About 1,800 migrants applied for asylum there in 1991 during the fall of communism in Albania.
When war erupted in Bosnia in 1992, about 35,000 Bosnians migrated to Macedonia where they were accommodated in seven refugee camps.
Macedonia also allowed in 390,000 people who fled war in Kosovo in 1999.
Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2014, 15:36