Serbian security forces have stepped up patrols and deployed an elite unit on the border with Hungary, trying to prevent an illegal flow of migrants that has triggered alarm in many European Union countries.

A gendarmerie unit was sent to the border on Wednesday to try to crack down on the massive exodus of mostly Kosovo Albanians who have been fleeing poverty and unemployment in search for jobs and better life in the European Union.

Serbian authorities say that an average of 1,000 asylum seekers get caught daily by either Hungarian or Serbian border guards as they try to cross illegally through forests. They also include many Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and others.

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is one of the poorest countries in Europe.