Russian bombing of Syria increases danger for the West

Milan DinicResearch Manager
October 07, 2015, 9:33 AM UTC

The Majority see Russian airstrikes in Syria as helping Assad and increasing the danger for the West. Almost half say now there is an increased chance of Russian-US skirmishes

Upon the invitation from the government of embattled president Bashar al Assad, Russia began bombing Syria last week. It sent numerous planes and personnel to the country, launching a massive air campaign against what it calls “terrorist groups and ISIS”. Russian military intervention in Syria increased concerns that it is aimed at keeping in power the regime of Bashar al Assad. The Russian move sparked criticism from the West. In a statement, the US, UK, Turkey and other coalition members said they would “only fuel more extremism”.

An overwhelming majority believe Russian strikes are helping Assad and that the situation is getting more dangerous for the West, new First Verdict research finds. Less than one in ten think the opposite.

Almost half of the panel agree that the presence of both Russia and the US in Syria will most likely lead to dangerous skirmishes between the two.

As Moscow began its strikes a senior source in Washington said the coalition forces – which are also flying their bombing missions in Syria – were given only an hour's notice deemed too short by American military officials. The Russian Air Force in Syria is reported to be deploying over 50 planes and helicopters, based in the coastal city of Latakia.

Obama and Putin split public

The first face-to-face meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in two years which recently took place at the 70th UN assembly, was described as “businesslike” despite tensions. Russian military involvement in Syria, underpinned by an odd coalition made up of Iran, Iraq and Israel, is seen as a mark of a new global point of confrontation with the West led by the US.. There are significant comments suggesting that Putin managed to outwit Obama in Syria, deflecting the international attention to Ukraine.

Although Putin and Obama are seen as representatives of two different approaches to the world, the opinion on who is the more effective leader of the two is evenly split putting them neck to neck, shows the new First Verdict research.

The gender slice on this question is also interesting – with half of the male respondents seeing Mr Putin as a more effective leader, while most women back Mr Obama. In terms of politics, almost half of Conservatives see president Putin as more effective, while the equal percentage of Labour give advantage to president Obama.

Most Syrians entering the EU are refugees

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