Where is the U.N. on Syria?

June 18, 2013, 2:06 PM GMT+0

Only the UN is trusted by a majority of the British public to investigate Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use – but the majority are already convinced the Assad regime has used them

As the G8 member nations place the on-going conflict in Syria at the top of their priorities, and just days after an international dispute erupted over whether or not the Assad regime has used chemical weapons - with the US President Barack Obama announcing he will arm Syrian rebels on the belief they have, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin providing anti-aircraft missiles to Assad in denial of the evidence - YouGov asks the public who they most trust on the issue.

Only the UN is trusted by a majority of the British public. When asked how much they trust the following to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria, 52% trust the UN while 32% do not, 40% trust the British government while 46% do not, 29% trust the United States while 56% do not and only 5% trust Russia while the vast majority (77%) do not.

Despite not trusting the UK and US governments, who have both claimed to have evidence that Syria’s Assad regime have used the nerve agent Sarin against rebels, the majority of the British public (60%) believe Assad’s troops “have probably used chemical weapons”; twice as many as who say the same about “rebels fighting the Assad government” (28%).

Previously, both the US and UK have said that the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s government would count as a “red line” for military action. In a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times from May 31st, however, only 15% of Britons supported “providing arms to the Syrian rebels.” The poll also found, though, that the public backed David Cameron’s call to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria by 53% compared to just 21% in opposition.

Recently Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has said that Europe “will pay the price” if it delivers arms to rebel forces in Syria, and Boris Johnson has claimed that arming the Syrian rebels would amount to “pressing weapons into the arms of maniacs”. But in the affair’s latest turn William Hague has announced that no decision has been made by the UK to arm rebels, and Mr Putin has signalled that he is ready to force the Assad regime into peace talks - however no agreement has been reached on whether President Assad will be allowed to attend the meetings.

See the full poll results

See May's poll results

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