Despite new evidence and some calls for a second vote in Parliament, British opposition to all forms of military involvement in the Syria crisis has hardened significantly
Amid increasingly likely missile strikes on Syria led by the United States, following announcements by senior Republicans in Congress that they will support the President, and despite the presentation of further evidence of a chemical weapons attack from France and the US, new YouGov research finds that the British public now oppose missile attacks by more than three to one. This is up from two to one before the vote in the House of Commons.
69% now oppose using British missiles against military sites inside Syria, while only 21% support. Opposition is at its highest since YouGov first asked the question, before a motion supporting missile strikes in principle was defeated in the House of Commons last Thursday; from 50% on 26-27 August and 51% on 27-28 August.
Sending defensive military supplies to anti-Assad troops is opposed by 62%, up from 50% on 26-27 August; sending full-scale military supplies is opposed by 77%, up from 61%; and using British aircraft and missiles to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria is opposed by 50%, up from 42%.
Confidence in Parliament’s decision has also solidified: 73% now say the right choice was made compared to 68% over the weekend.
Since the debate focus has shifted towards Syria’s refugee crisis, with William Hague tweeting yesterday: ‘1 year ago: 230,000 Syrian refugees. Today: 2,000,000. 1/2 children. If we don't end the conflict, think what the figure could be next year.’ YouGov finds that only 24% would support Britain reconsidering missile attacks if the ‘refugee crisis in Syria got worse,’ however. By comparison, 45% would support a reappraisal if there were ‘further chemical attacks.’
Israel and the US yesterday carried out joint missile tests in the Mediterranean, possibly in preparation for strikes on Syria. Barack Obama, after following David Cameron’s lead in deciding to put intervention to vote in Congress, has won the support of the most senior Republican, John Boehner, the Speaker of the majority-Republican House of Representatives. Congress is expected to vote next week.