Several hundred refugees and migrants have gathered outside a police station in Greece’s second largest city, waiting for hours to be formally arrested and gain temporary residence in the European Union country.

Families, including many from Syria, sat on the sidewalk outside the police building for hours Friday after crossing illegally from Turkey.

Police in northern Greece have reported a surge in illegal land crossings following Turkey’s military offensive in northern Turkey and capture of the town of Afrin from Kurdish fighters.

Most families are requesting placement at refugee camps around Greece that were set up after a European crackdown on migration two years ago. Refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries are usually granted the right to stay in Greece for at least 30 days.

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