First Snow Of Season For Europe Leaves Thousands Of Refugees Vulnerable

The first winter weather to push its away across Europe has caused temperatures to plummet. Highs in Paris and London, which had been near 15 degrees Celsius, fell to near five degrees on Saturday, reports Al Jazeera. Northern and western European mountains are expected to receive large amounts of snowfall, the first snow of the year in many locations. The southern Alps are expected to miss the brunt of the storm.

The closing of borders through the Balkan Peninsula, together with the cold weather and snow making its way across Europe, is creating a sense of urgency among refugees and those charged with caring for them. "Hundreds of thousands" of refugees from Syria and other countries are currently making their way through the Balkan Peninsula, making their way to Europe, according to WBOC.

Refugees at risk as winter looms in Europe.
A refugee camp in Celle, Germany prepares for winter. [Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Image]Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Romania have all tightened restrictions on refugees entering and passing through their countries in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, leaving an unknown number, perhaps hundreds of thousands, in limbo and potentially trapped, with the first snow of winter on the way, reports Balkan Insight. The tightening of restrictions at border crossings is described as having a "domino effect" on refugees. Each of the countries has reportedly continued to allow refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries passage.

Part of the reason Balkan countries are clamping down on refugees is because of a Syrian passport in the name of Ahmad al-Mohammad being found near the body of a suicide bomber at the Stated de France on the night of the attacks. Authorities have been able to confirm that al-Mohammad, if that is his real name, traveled through the Balkan peninsula when making his way to Europe. The Syrian national has suddenly made the journey from the Middle East to Europe much more complicated, and dangerous, for every other refugee on the road.

"We're trapped," Mohammed Mirzam, a refugee from Afghanistan, was quoted by News Europe at the border between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. "They won't let my family across. We have no money, and we're waiting without any idea of what is to happen." Mirzam's wife and children are Iranian nationals, so they were reported to have been turned away at the Macedonian border. As many as 3,000 others are said to be finding themselves in a similar situation in the Greek border town of Idomeni.

Officials at the Serbian border are said to be allowing only Syrian, Afghani, and Iraqi refugees to cross, while Croatia is allowing refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as Palestine, passage. Borders are described as closing to "economic migrants," those who countries deem are only traveling to better themselves economically, rather than fleeing true danger.

First snow in Europe puts refugees at risk.
A young boy in Gevgelija, Macedonia. [Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]The U.S. Congress has passed legislation, as reported by the Inquisitr, "pausing" President Obama's plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States for one year. President Obama has stated that he will veto the bill.

"We are afraid that they will close the border now. But we don't fear terror much anymore. Every village in Syria is worse than Paris… we don't have much to lose," a teen-aged Syrian named Mossa was quoted. Mossa described he and his friends' plan to cross into Serbia and hopefully make their way to Europe from there.

Winter sets in with first snow fall in Europe.
Refugees in Gevgelija, Macedonia. [Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]Being from Syria, Mossa may be allowed to pass into Croatia. Some from countries like Sri Lanka, Morocco, Sudan, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan are now caught in desperate situations, unable to move forward or back, with winter's first snow looming on the Balkan Peninsula.

Refugee camps prepare for first snow of winter.
Winter accommodations in Celle, Germany for refugees. [Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Image][Feature Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]