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During the massive influx of refugees and migrants in 2015, Serbia was mainly a country of transit on the route to European Union for the several hundreds of thousands fleeing war and persecution. Even after the EU-Turkey Statement in March 2016 and de facto closure of the borders along the so-called Balkan route, the perception of those that remained stranded did not change and Serbia was still not considered as a destination country by most refugees and migrants, even though transit became ineffective and drastically prolonged compared to 2015 and early 2016.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that 350,000 refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa have crossed into the European Union between January and August of 2015, a significant increase over previous years. The largest group are those fleeing civil war in Syria, followed by smaller populations from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Nigeria and Kosovo.