x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Americans strongly oppose US intervention in Syria – even if chemical weapons are confirmed

About 60 per cent of Americans in new poll say the US should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 per cent think the US president, Barack Obama, should act.

WASHINGTON // Americans strongly oppose intervention by the United States in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, according to a poll.

About 60 per cent of Americans surveyed said the US should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 per cent thought the US president, Barack Obama, should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons had been used, but even that support dipped in recent days - just as Syria's civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the internet.

The poll, taken between August 19 and August 23, found that 25 per cent of Americans would support US intervention if the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, were found to have used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 per cent would oppose it.

That represented a decline in backing for US action since August 13, when tracking polls found 30.2 per cent of Americans backed intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 per cent did not.

Last week's poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 per cent points for each number.

Taken together, the polls suggested that, so far, the growing crisis in Syria and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may be hardening many Americans' resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.

The results suggested that if Mr Obama decided on military action against Mr Al Assad's regime, he would do so in the face of steady opposition from an American public wary after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.