Research Manager

77% of British people support forming a common front involving Russia to fight ISIS, and 39% say Assad should remain temporarily in power in Syria

In a TV interview ahead of the 70th UN General Assembly session, Russian president Vladimir Putin criticized the US approach to the conflict in Syria and proposed the creation of what he called a “co-ordinated framework” to resolve the crisis. This would mean a combined international effort to end the 4 year long conflict in that country. “We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists,” Putin said. He added Russia has no plans to “take part in any field operations on the territory of Syria or in other states; at least, we do not plan it for now”.

A new First Verdict poll has found that 77% of British people support joining together with Russia and other countries in a regional “co-ordinating structure” against ISIS. Options suggesting that Russia should not be included or for the UK not to get involved have much lower support.

The BBC has reported that David Cameron is expected to ease his stance towards Assad in a speech to the UN General Assembly. The Prime Minister is expected to propose the current Syrian president remains temporarily in power at the head of a transitional government. First Verdict research finds that 39% of British public support this, while 21% oppose it.

The beginning of the 70th UN General Assembly saw the US and Russian presidents meet for the first time in two years. The meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half was described as “businesslike” by the White House, and was mostly focused on Syria. Both in the meeting, and in their speeches, the two presidents voiced conflicting views on the role of Bashar al Assad, with the US calling for the removal of the current regime, while Moscow is currently backing it. However, in his speech to the General Assembly Obama said the US is willing to work with any nation – including Russia and Iran – to solve the conflict.

As the US is reshaping its policy towards Damask and seeking allies, Moscow says it is already cooperating with Iraq and Iran on the conflict in Syria. Russia has recently also agreed with Israel to coordinate actions over Syria, “in order to avoid accidentally trading fire”.

Majority oppose an EU single foreign policy and EU army

Although the majority supports a coordinated international effort against IS, when it comes to Europe 49% oppose both the formation of an EU army or single foreign policy.

Just 16% support both a united political and military EU front, with 21% backing the first option.

The question sparked a lot of comments from app users. One user said it would be good to see the EU have a NATO-style army, made up of individual forces but with common exercises and structures to enable them to act together if needed. Another comment noted that “although there may be young people willing to go to great lengths to defend crown and country, it will be more difficult to find recruits to pledge allegiance to Europe which would require some to pledge in favour of defending an ideal which is not in line with the needs and desires of many citizens of Europe”.

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