DISINFO: EU doesn’t want Syrian refugees to return, they have their own goals
  • Outlet: arabic.riafan.ru (archived)*
  • Date of publication: March 30, 2021
  • Article language(s): Arabic
  • Reported in: Issue 239
  • Countries / regions discussed: Syria, Russia, EU
humanitarian aid Human rights Bashar al-Assad Syrian War Refugees Russian superiority

DISINFO: EU doesn’t want Syrian refugees to return, they have their own goals


We are not even discussing creating conditions for the return of refugees to the country (Syria), nor are we talking about post-conflict reconstruction of the country. Directing EU funds for these purposes will only be possible when the appropriate conditions are in place. In the understanding of Brussels, this means, first and foremost, the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.

Regarding the current ongoing conference of international donors to Syria, the Europeans do not intend at all to contribute to the recovery of Syria and the return of refugees to the country, but they seek to achieve completely different goals.

The European Union refuses to respond to Russian initiatives to launch an international operation to return refugees back to Syria, where most of its territory no longer living a state of war.


A recurrent narrative praising Russia's superiority and presenting Russia as a guarantor of peace regarding the Syrian war. This narrative aims to discredit the EU's efforts and constant humanitarian aid to Syrians inside and outside the country.

The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis. The European Union and the United Nations co-chaired the fifth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, which took place in March 2021.

The overarching objective of the Brussels Conferences is to continue supporting the Syrian people and mobilise the international community in support of a comprehensive and credible political solution to the Syrian conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

At the fifth Brussels Conference, the international community pledged €5.3 billion. Of this amount, €3.7 billion were announced by the EU, with €1.12 billion coming from the European Commission and €2.6 billion from the EU Member States. The EU as a whole remains the largest donor with €24.9 billion of humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience assistance collectively mobilised since the onset of the crisis in 2011 to address its consequences.

Read more about the EU strategy on Syria that was announced on 3 April 2017.

Regarding joining hand with Russia on the topic of Syrian refugees, the EU has concluded that it was still premature, since conditions inside Syria at present do not lend themselves to the promotion of large-scale voluntary return, in conditions of safety and dignity in line with international law. This situation has been confirmed by independent media reporting and the UNHCR.

Several media and civil society organisations documented cases of Syrian refugees returning to their country only to be arrested, forced into conscription in the army, and harassed by security forces. A June 2019 survey of returnees reported that 75% of them had experienced arrest and harassment at government checkpoints, registry offices, and in the street; as well as being drafted for compulsory military conscription despite promises of exemption.

See other examples of these disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims that the EU supports terrorists and not the sovereignty of Syria; that Western sanctions prevent the return of Syrian refugees; that the European Council wants to starve the Syrian people; or that Europe calls for a separatist project in northeastern Syria; or that EU sanctions bypass the UN; or that sanctions are preventing the arrival of vaccines in Syria.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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