Americans want U.S. to keep out of Syria conflict: poll

Wed May 1, 2013 8:19pm EDT
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most Americans do not want the United States to intervene in Syria's civil war even if the government there uses chemical weapons, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, in a clear message to the White House as it considers how to respond to the worsening crisis.

Only 10 percent of those surveyed in the online poll said the United States should become involved in the fighting. Sixty-one percent opposed getting involved.

The figure favoring intervention rose to 27 percent when respondents were asked what the United States should do if President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons. Forty-four percent would be opposed.

"Particularly given Afghanistan and the 10th anniversary of Iraq, there is just not an appetite for intervention," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

The rebellion against Assad's government has resulted in 70,000 dead and created more than 1.2 million refugees since it erupted in 2011.

President Barack Obama has shied away from deep U.S. involvement, although he declared last year that the use or deployment of chemical weapons by Assad's government would cross a "red line."

Obama said on Tuesday there was evidence those weapons had been used, but too much is still unknown for Washington to do more than provide the non-lethal aid it is already sending to the Syrian rebels.

Obama did not rule out action - military or otherwise - against Assad's government. But he repeatedly stressed he would not allow himself to be pressured prematurely into deeper intervention in Syria's two-year-old civil war.

Many Americans are still oblivious to events in Syria. The poll found that about one-third, or 36 percent, had neither heard nor read anything about the civil war there.   Continued...

 
A member of the Free Syrian Army points his weapon through a hole in a wall as he takes up a defensive position during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's Salaheddine district, April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Malek Alshemali