Disinfo: Western sanctions prevent the return of Syrian refugees


Most of the refugees want to return to Syria, and the biggest obstacle to their return is the Western blockade imposed on Syria.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war and belligerent intentions of the West against Syria. The claim was neither critically challenged not counterbalanced in the article.

Within the context of the Syrian conflict, 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. EU sanctions against the regime were extended in May 2020 for one year, and in October 2020, new seven individual ministers were added to the list.

The goal of these measures is not to destroy Syria or wage an economic war, but 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.

EU sanctions are designed in a way that only targets the specific individuals and entities on the sanctions list, avoiding negative impacts on the population. They comply with all obligations under international law, in particular international refugee law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law.

As for the return of Syrian refugess, UNHCR states that the conditions for a safe, voluntary and dignified return – as per international law - are not currently met. Eight years after the outbreak of the conflict, the situation in Syria is still critical, with millions of Syrians displaced and in need of protection and humanitarian assistance. The potential for violence remains high. The recent creation of the Constitutional Committee is a positive step but much remains to be done towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict.

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. From the beginning of October until mid-November 2018, the Syrian authorities arrested 700 Syrians returning to government-controlled areas, and it is reported that 200 still remain in custody.

Surveys of refugees conducted on the ground by the UNHCR reveal that most of refugees aspire to go home to Syria one day, in a longer term. But for now, the obstacles are the safety and security, as well as lack of adequate housing, concerns over property, scarcity of livelihood opportunities in Syria, not anywhere else.

Read more disinformation cases alleging that sanctions on Syria are illegal and aim to destroy the country, EU sanctions bypass the UN, EU sanctions on Syria are illegal and that the US wants to divide Syria.


  • Reported in: Issue 219
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: West, Refugees, 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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There are signs of a colour revolution in the US, public institutions are destroyed

Actually, this is one of the signs of a colour revolution, when institutions are destroyed in the struggle for power. Journalism is a public institution. The current bias in American journalism bears witness to its destruction. The President of the United States is a whole state institution. Cutting him off the air with offensive comments is the destruction of a state institution. Elections are also an institution. Since there is no correct result in the US election and there is no longer any hope of getting it, the institution of elections has also been destroyed.


Unfounded claim on the non transparency of the US elections, spread in Russian State media. No US court decisions support these claims so far. See more on the Russian State media's notion of "colour revolution" (usually described as an organised unrest by the US or "Western curators" in post Soviet countries).

See previous similar conspiracy narrative that CIA is organising a colour revolution in US (reported back in September 2020), or several coups against US President Donald Trump.

Trump executed a perfect special operation against faking election results

There is no doubt that President Donald Trump won the election by a large margin, but we will never know the real results due to the voting ballots “pulled back” by the election machines. Trump is playing the waiting game brilliantly to uncover the fraud by the Biden family. Arrests are being put in motion. “We” know which ballots were thrown out, where they are right now, who possesses them.


Recurring disinformation about the unconfirmed election irregularities in the US.

The preliminary report of the ODIHR's election observation mission states that the "The 3 November general elections were competitive and well managed despite legal uncertainties and logistical challenges." The report notes that the election day was orderly and took place in a peaceful atmosphere. The body highlighted that in places where they observed the vote count, it was conducted "professionally, efficiently and openly," and the problems that arose with electronic poll-books or voting machines were addressed quickly.

Mass fraud in US elections: known cases of multiple voting are the tip of the iceberg

Trump is going, of course, to start lawsuits at the courts of the States and at the Supreme Court. All this amid the background of rigging and falsifications, which are no longer even hidden; giving the 300 thousand lost ballots, an abnormal increase in votes for Biden in Michigan, a ban on allowing Republican observers to pass to polling stations.

So, not being ashamed of television cameras at one of the polling stations, the ballots are thrown into the trash bin in batches. In Pennsylvania, a woman sends several ballots to a ballot box at once.

Bundles of ballots are found in the most unexpected places. How they got there is a big mystery. Perhaps this is part of the 300 thousand votes sent by mail that the most democratic post in the world – the American one – lost. Just in time.

The election turnout breaks records not only historically, but also mathematically – more than one hundred 102 percent in Florida and 101 in Wisconsin. In New York, at least two women, who died a few years ago, managed to vote. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of ballots were sent to those who moved or even died. In Los Angeles County, 277,606 ballots were mailed. Among them there are 4869 duplicate ballots sent twice to the same person. And 728 ballots sent to those most likely to have died.


Unfounded claims of the pro-Kremlin media outlet. Reports that the US Postal Service had lost or failed to deliver hundreds of thousands of ballots began circulating online, are not true.

There is no evidence that hundreds of thousands of ballots went undelivered, CNN reports. While there were roughly 300,000 ballots that did not have delivery scans, that doesn't mean they weren't delivered. According to the USPS [US mail], the lack of delivery scans were a result of ballots that were picked out of the mail stream to speed up their processing.