Westerns don’t agree with West over Syria chemical issue

Westerns don’t agree with West over Syria chemical issue
Thu Oct 10, 2013 16:38:08

Over half of the people surveyed in an international Reuters/Ipsos poll are opposed to foreign military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and more are against their own countries intervening in the conflict.

The poll, conducted in 15, mostly European countries, also found that only about a third of respondents held Syria's government accountable for using chemical weapons despite Western efforts to blame Assad for an August 21 sarin gas attack.

The United States had threatened to attack Syria after the attack but stepped back after Russia’s mediation that proposed elimination of country’s chemical weapons.

The move was welcomed by Damascus which would help the Syrian army ensure the chemicals would not fall in the hands of militants who have been leading a massive bloody insurgency in the Arab country for more than two and a half years.

Overall, about 52 percent of people surveyed last month were opposed to any military intervention in Syria.

Over half of respondents in the United States and France - which offered to join any mission - said they were against it. In Britain, where parliament voted against a motion to authorize military action in principle in August, pushed by British Premier, 56 percent opposed it.

Argentina was the most strongly opposed to military intervention in Syria. Some 68 percent of people surveyed there said they were against it.

In nearly every country surveyed, a majority of people were opposed to their own country getting involved in the conflict, including Japan, Canada, Hungary, Australia, Poland, the United States and France. About 57 percent opposed it overall.

The poll did not include findings from countries whose governments have been basically opposed to the insurgency in Syria, including Iran, Russia and China.

It also excluded many of the country's most directly involved in supporting the bloody war, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. No Arab or African countries were included in the survey as well.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also showed that only 36 percent of people surveyed thought the Syrian government was to blame for the chemical attacks in Syria and a majority of people did not agree with claims by the United States and some of its allies about Syrian government being behind the attack.

The poll, conducted online between September 4 and September 18, had a sample of over 12,000 adults, with about 1,000 in each country except Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, South Korea and Sweden, where there were around 500 respondents each.

In countries with around 1,000 surveyed the poll's credibility interval, a measure of accuracy was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. In countries where about 500 were surveyed it was accurate to 5 percentage points.


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