DISINFO: The West is trying to keep refugees outside of Syria in order to influence their vote
  • Outlet: sputnik-abkhazia.ru (archived)*
  • Date of publication: September 02, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 165
  • Countries / regions discussed: Syria
West Refugees

DISINFO: The West is trying to keep refugees outside of Syria in order to influence their vote


About 1.5 million refugees have returned to Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011 and, hence, allegations that the Syrian government is not providing necessary conditions for their return are politically biased. The West is not helping Syrian refugees to return home as it channels large sums of money, like 7 billion euros allocated at the Brussels conference on supporting Syrian refugees, to refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. By doing so the West is trying to keep as many refugees as possible in camps outside Syria in order to influence how they vote in elections.


No official data backs this claim. UNCHR has been counting the number of self-organized Syrian refugee returns. According to the latest estimates (as of June 30, 2019), up to 180 000 Syrian refugees have returned to Syria since 2016. The cover photo of the article creates an impression as if the refugees are returning to the country. In fact, the photo was taken back in 2015 depicting a woman and a boy fleeing Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus. The West allegedly preventing refugees to leave the camps is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative. In March 2019 international donors raised $7 billion to support refugees as well as "those facing a humanitarian crisis at home." The progress report on pledges made then can be tracked here. See similar disinformation narratives on refugee camps and the West here.


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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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