Syria: Little support for action either side of Atlantic

Opinion polls conducted in Britain and the US have found little public support on either side of the Atlantic for military intervention in Syria. Picture: Getty

Opinion polls conducted in Britain and the US have found little public support on either side of the Atlantic for military intervention in Syria. Picture: Getty

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OPINION polls conducted in Britain and the US have found little public support on either side of the Atlantic for military intervention in Syria.

Half of Britons believed it was not worth it, with less than a quarter supporting such intervention in response to president Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, according to research carried out before the latest tensions.

The YouGov polling, commissioned by researchers at University of Essex and Georgia State University, shows a similar picture in the US, with 42 per cent saying intervention was not worthwhile and only 27 per cent believing military action was necessary.

It was carried out in the wake of a US claim in June that there was definitive proof of chemical weapons use.

Co-commissioned by Dr Thomas Scotto from Essex University, the poll surveyed 2,774 Britons and 2,525 Americans. The unwillingness of both the American and British public to see their armed forces on the ground in Syria is consistent with previous surveys, the researchers said.

Dr Scotto said: “The fact that support remains low does not mean that the justification had no effect. Telling respondents something to the effect that, in using chemical weapons Assad crossed what President Obama called a ‘red line’ does increase support for a mission from an extremely low starting point.

“In this latest round of polling, just 15 per cent of both the British and American public supported their nation’s troops being sent in to protect the Syrian public.

“There is even less public enthusiasm to send in troops for the purposes of overthrowing president Assad: just 8 per cent of the UK public and 9 per cent of the American public.

“Mentioning the use of chemical weapons by Assad does raise support for taking some form of action, but the public mood for a military response is very low.”

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