Syrian refugees fear they are being lured back to arrest and conflict despite regime charm offensive

“We will sacrifice our blood and soul for Bashar!” teenagers from the youth wing of President Assad’s Baath party chanted as a string of buses festooned with portraits of the leader crossed from Lebanon into Syria.

Khola Betjen, 26, who emerged holding her 16-month-old daughter in one hand and a picture of Assad in the other, said she had decided to return to her homeland after living with relatives across the border for several years.

“There’s no war and the situation is better than before,” she said.

As part of a press junket organised by the Russian military, Damascus regional governor Alaa Ibrahim greeted Ms Betjen and 200 other refugees who came through the Jdeidet Yabus border crossing…

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