Migrants trapped in muddy no man's land

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Migrants stuck in muddy Tabanovce after borders close
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Migrants trapped in muddy no man's land
A man covered with thermal blanket walks along railway tracks beside an improvised refugee camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A refugee boy walks in the rain among tents in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia,. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A Syrian refugee walks in the rain among tents in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A Syrian refugee woman with a child walks in the rain among tents in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A man shaves as he looks himself in pocket mirror at a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016 where migrants and refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Peolpe look outside a tent at a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016 where migrants and refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and woman have walk beside a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016 where migrants and refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A child sits on the ground as she warms herself around a bonfire among tents at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
People warm themselves around a bonfire among tents at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
KUMANOVO, MACEDONIA - MARCH 08: A little refugee kid holds a food package as she enforcedly wait at a refugee camp with other refugees in Tabanovce town of Kumanovo near Serbian border in Macedonia on March 08, 2016. (Photo by Admir Fazlagikj/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Two children play among tents at a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016 where migrants and refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A child looks outside a tent at a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016 where migrants and refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman carries a child in her arms among tents as she waits with other migrants and refugees for permission to cross the border into Serbia at a makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A child sits inside a tent at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp near the village of Tabanovce at the Macedonian-Serbian border, on March 9, 2016. Migrants hoping to trek from Greece towards northern Europe found their path blocked March 9 after a string of western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, exacerbating a dire humanitarian situation on the Macedonian border. Slovenia and Croatia, two of the countries along the route used by hundreds of thousands of people in recent months, barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight. Serbia indicated it would follow suit. / AFP / Robert ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian children play in muddy water in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia, near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Around 1,500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia, from whom more than 400 Syrians are on the border line with Serbia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A locomotive passes beside an improvised refugee camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Thursday, March 10, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A Syrian refugee boy walks through mud and garbage in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia, near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Around 1,500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia, from whom more than 400 Syrians are on the border line with Serbia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A refugee walks through mud and garbage in an improvised camp with tents set by stranded refugees, on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Around 1.500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia, from whom more than 400 Syrians are on the border line with Serbia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Syrian refugees wait for permission to cross the border into Serbia, in an improvised camp on the border line between Macedonia and Serbia, near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Around 1,500 migrants and refugees are stranded at Tabanovce transit center for refugees in northern Macedonia, from whom more than 400 Syrians are on the border line with Serbia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
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TABANOVCE, Macedonia, March 10 - The closure of the Balkan route to migrants has left about 430 desperate people, mainly Syrians and Iraqis, trapped in a muddy no man's land between Macedonia and Serbia, unwilling to go back to Macedonia but barred from heading to Serbia or further north.

The migrants, camped within sight of Serbian border guards, were angered and confused by news that Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia had closed their borders to migrants in transit, effectively blocking the Balkan route taken by more than 1 million migrants to the European Union over the past year.

Persistent heavy rain has turned their makeshift camp of around 50 small tents provided by aid agencies into a quagmire and daytime temperatures are only around 5 degrees centigrade.

"Our children are dying. There is water all over, even under the tents ... Now it seems that the bombs in Syria look better than this misery. We are not animals," said Ibrahim Mardini, a 23-year-old student from Aleppo in Syria.

SEE ALSO: Refugee babies exposed to filth, infections at Greek border camp

The migrants' long journeys from Iraq or Syria ended with a train ride through Macedonia and finally a walk to the Serbian border, where they have been stranded for three or four days.

Blocked from entering Serbia, they refuse to give up on their dream of reaching the European Union. Macedonian authorities say they could go back to an established migrant camp less than 1 mile (1 km) away in Macedonia, but they refuse.

"I want to go to any country, just not here. My baby is very tired. I cannot take it any more. I don't want to go back. I walked too long," said 25-year-old Weaam Fattal, also from Aleppo.

"I don't have any other plan, I don't know where to go," said Fattal, who said she left Syria about two months ago.

Dhomo Shevan, a 45-year-old farmer from Iraq, was defiant.

"If they don't let us pass, we will just go. Let us see if they stop us. This is unbearable," he said.

Aid workers were distributing food and water and have set up portable toilets for the migrants. A Red Cross vehicle arrived and delivered blankets and warm hats for the children.

Close by, about 1,000 more migrants are crammed into the Macedonian transit camp, designed for 700 people. Their future is equally uncertain.

Ivo Kunovski, an aid worker with U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, said: "We don't know what is next. We are waiting to see what will they (the authorities) decide.

"There is enough food and clothes. Everyone has a roof over their head, but the situation with the people in no man's land is worse. There are women, children and elderly people there. We are trying to help them," he said.

The closure of the Balkan route could lead to migrants taking new routes to try to reach Europe, the deputy executive director of EU border agency Frontex said on Thursday.

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