Americans oppose Syria intervention

June 14, 2013, 2:38 PM GMT+0

A majority of Americans oppose the US intervening directly in Syria, and most oppose US intervention even if the war spills over Syria's borders.

The Obama administration announced today that it would begin providing arms to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad government, and is understood to be seriously examining creating a 'no-fly zone' in parts of Syria. No-fly zones would prevent the Syrian air force flying in these areas but would also require the US to bomb Syrian air defence installations, marking the first direct intervention in the civil war.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans oppose arming the rebels and intervening directly, with 54% opposing intervention and only 18% supporting it.

The public’s opposition to intervention is sustained even when presented with the possibility of the war spreading into neighbouring states, with 48% opposing US intervention if the war were to pull in other countries. One of the major worries of the wider international community is that the war is likely to spread to Lebanon, with reports already emerging that Syrian rebels have begun fighting Hezbollah forces inside Lebanon as well as inside Syria.

Interestingly, support for intervention decreases if the war spreads to involve Israel. When asked how the US should respond if the Israelis take action against the Syrian government, only 6% believe that the US should also intervene, with most being content to either arm Israel (23%) or just provide diplomatic support (21%). Only 19% say that the US should take some sort of action to get the Israelis to end military operations in Syria.