WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most Americans do not want to intervene in Syria’s civil war, although the percentage in favor more than doubles if President Bashar al-Assad’s forces use chemical weapons against their people, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
Only 10 percent of those surveyed in the online poll said the United States should intervene in the fighting. Sixty-one percent opposed getting involved.
But the figure favoring intervention rises to 27 percent if the Damascus government uses chemical weapons, while 44 percent would remain opposed.
The rebellion against Assad’s government has resulted so far 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.
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.
Only 8 percent said they had heard or read a great deal and 19 percent said they had heard or read a “fair amount.”
The online poll of 519 Americans aged 18 and over was conducted from April 26-May 1. The survey has a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Philip Barbara