Majority of British public and UK opinion formers oppose military intervention in Syria, but support for this action increases if Syria uses chemical weapons
Over two-thirds (69%) of people in Britain oppose sending British and allied troops into Syria to help overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and more than six in ten (64%) are against British and allied soldiers intervening in Syria to protect civilians from attack.
As the civil war continues in Syria, our poll found that the most popular course of action is to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria so that the Syrian air force cannot attack rebels or civilians from the air, with over half (58%) of the British public supporting this.
- 69% of Brits say they are against British and allied troops intervening in Syria to help overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while fewer than one in ten (8%) support this action
- Almost two-thirds (64%) of the public oppose sending British and allied troops into Syria to protect civilians, in contrast to 15% who are in favour
- A majority (58%) support the implementation of a no-fly zone over Syria, with 17% saying they oppose this
- Over half (55%) of the public are against Britain and other allied countries providing arms to the Syrian rebels, while 15% say they are in favour of this action
A survey of UK opinion formers, who are influential Britons drawn from politics, business, media, academia, NGOs and the public sector, found that a strong majority (70%) also oppose military intervention in Syria, with less than two in ten (16%) saying the UK should be pushing for this action.
Use of chemical weapons
Our poll of the public reveals that if Syria were to use chemical weapons against rebel fighters or civilians, the number of Brits in favour of military intervention to overthrow Syria’s leader increases threefold and those who support sending British and allied troops into Syria to protect civilians doubles. This comes amid concerns expressed by some Western countries that the Syrian government could use chemical weapons against rebels.
- Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits support sending British and allied troops into Syria to help overthrow President Bashar al-Assad if chemical weapons are used, compared to 54% who are against this
- If Syria were to use chemical weapons, more than three in ten (31%) people are in favour military intervention to protect civilians, while 48% are not
- Over two-thirds (68%) of the public support the decision to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria in these circumstances, in contrast to only 12% who oppose this
- 31% of people are in favour of Britain and allied countries providing arms to the Syrian rebels if chemical weapons are used, but a plurality (44%) are against this action