Skip to main content

Russia zeroes in on returning Christians to Syrian homes

Moscow is playing up the plight of displaced Christians to encourage Western states to contribute to Syria's reconstruction.

During their recent meeting in Helsinki, the US and Russian presidents supposedly reached several agreements on Syria, which were taken into account in a list of suggestions later sent to the American side. Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of the National Center for State Defense Control, said these suggestions involve returning refugees to their original homes, joint monitoring and rebuilding infrastructure. Yet the areas of Syria where the United States is supposed to do its part were never mentioned, and the United States has been mum on the subject. The general pointed out that, according to Moscow’s estimates, about 1.7 million Syrian refugees may return to their homes soon.

At the same time, Russia created an inter-institutional coordination group on refugee return that includes military officers and diplomats. Russia's Foreign Ministry, in turn, made inquiries to 45 embassies of the countries that, according to the UN, are currently hosting Syrian refugees, to understand how many of them are scattered around the world.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.