Disinfo: EU sanctions bypass the UN and hinder efforts to fight coronavirus


…Unilateral and unlawful EU sanctions, bypassing the UN Security Council, which already complicated (Syria‘s) humanitarian operation…

… maintaining sanctions at its full strength is completely inhumane, and hinders the fight against viral (coronavirus) infection.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative trying to change the nature of sanctions implemented on Syria

EU sanctions on Syria are targeted at individuals and entities who ordered or carried out attacks and torture against their own people, made or used chemical weapons, built their personal fortune thanks to the war. EU sanctions are designed in a way that only targets these people and these activities, avoiding any negative impact on the population. See our video here for more details.

In 2005, by UN Resolution 1636, the Security Council imposed travel bans and asset freezes on people suspected of being involved in the 14 February 2005 terrorist bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, in which Syria was implicated according to a UN report. The EU implemented those measures by adopting Council Common Position 2005/888/CFSP and Council Regulation (EC) No 305/2006.

EU sanctions, imposed since 9 May 2011, respond to the repression perpetrated on the Syrian people by the Syrian regime and its supporters, including through the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters, and the regime’s involvement in the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.

On 27 May 2013, the Council of the EU adopted conclusions in which it condemned the violence and the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights in Syria, which resulted into more restrictive measures against Syria on 31 May 2013, while the latest sanctions were adopted in May 2020.

EU sanctions are not impeding Syria’s medical response to Covid-19. They do not concern medicines, medical equipment or medical assistance provided to the population at large, and they do not prohibit the export to Syria of respirators, disinfectants, hand sanitizers or detergents used to respond to Covid-19.

Furthermore, the EU Commission published detailed guidance on how coronavirus-related humanitarian aid can be sent to countries and areas around the world that are subject to EU sanctions.

The goal of these measures is to put pressure on the Syrian regime to halt its repression and negotiate a lasting political settlement of the Syrian crisis in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 under UN auspices. They are part and parcel of the EU’s wider approach to the Syria crisis, as outlined in the EU strategy on Syria.


  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: coronavirus, humanitarian aid, European Union, UN, Syrian War, Sanctions


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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George Soros occupies the Facebook moderation network in Eastern Europe

Facebook attracted the Russophobic company RE:Baltica to moderate the Baltic States. Interestingly, the outlet in Riga operates on grants from foreign funds, including the “Open Society” by George Soros, who, through structures controlled by him, firmly occupied the Facebook moderation network in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, for example, these are anti-Russian (projects) StopFake and VoxCheck.


Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy about George Soros and social media.

The Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica is not controlled by George Soros, even though it has received funding from the Open Society Foundation. Re:Baltica focuses on in-depth investigations of important issues in the Baltic region, such as corruption, money laundering, entrepreneurship, health, human rights and disinformation. Reports are published on their website in Latvian, English and Russian. Re:Baltica produces work for free and encourages other media organisations to publish their work. Their fact-checking and social media research lab Re:Check is now an official Facebook fact-checking partner. All Facebook fact-checking partners are certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, which is an independent body free from political influence.

Facebook uses Ukrainian Nazis to fight Russian presence

Ukrainian Nazis, Banderas (after Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera), Baltic gays, Polish human rights advocates and American fans are the best cadres to fight the Russian presence. So this is an absolutely deliberate policy, and such personnel are needed by Facebook.


No evidence given. This claim mixes up recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the US, social media, Ukrainian Nazis and Russophobia. This is a part of a recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the West's alleged plans against Russia.

In certain countries and regions, Facebook works with third-party fact-checkers who are certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network to help identify and review false information. For example, in Ukraine, StopFake and VoxCheck help Facebook to identify fake news.

So far, Facebook said that, based on the work of independent fact-checking organisations, it has labelled 40 million Facebook posts with warnings that the content may be false.

This disinformation message appeared in the same publication as the claim that George Soros occupies the Facebook moderation network in Eastern Europe.