Freedom feels far away for desperate migrants caught in limbo

HUNGARY -- Freedom never seemed so far away for the desperate families who have fled wars at home, only to be caught in more suffering in Europe.

On Friday, children, men and women were stuffed into buses, destination unknown.

Germany has offered refuge, but countries along the way have thrown up roadblocks, overwhelmed by the crowds, and hoping to shift the burden to neighbors.

Migrants face blockade as Croatia closes border

Their trek away from war and toward a new life did not need a detour and it did not need more uncertainty, but it got both. The refugees had been denied entry into Hungary from Serbia and now thousands of them had come next-door to Croatia, instead. And here they were stuck, Syrians, Afghanis and Iraqis like Sarmad.

Where does he want to go?

"I didn't decide yet, but any country that is safe for me," he said.

After the chaotic clash with Hungarian border guards earlier in the week the Croatians imposed order on the 14,000 they said had come into their country.

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Police officers look at migrants sitting on the windows of a train at the railway station, near the Slovenian-Croatian border in Dobova, Brezice, on September 17, 2015. Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

The refugees have been told to line up for buses and that's what they've done, thousands of them. The line forms back as far as you can see. What the refugees can't see is a future.

And so, they sat like miserable pieces in a game of pass-the-refugee. They were dumped in a disused army base. And fed, at least.

But the Croatians said they could not stay.

So more chaotic scenes, more loading onto buses. This time to be taken to another border crossing into Hungary -- the country that had so-rudely denied them entry two days ago.

It seems a deal had been struck. They were herded onto still more buses and allowed in.

The refugees and the Croatian government actually agree on one thing, the government doesn't want them to stay and the refugees want to leave. And now, some of them are.

Busloads of misery, on the move again, but to where?

The announced plan was to take the refugees to camps near the Austrian border, but the Austrian's say no arrangements have been made to let them in. Every time a door opens for the refugees, another one seems to slam shut.

  • Mark Phillips
    Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.