Most Americans, Brits against arming Syrian rebels to topple Assad regime
London, Mar 23 : A new bilateral poll has revealed most Americans and Brits are deeply skeptical about the idea of arming Syria's rebels and the possibility of sending western troops into the country to topple president Bashar al-Assad's government.
The YouGov poll shows support for current 'non-lethal' assistance but widespread opposition to prospect of supplying arms, the Guardian reports.
There have been increasing demands on Capitol Hill to arm the opponents of the Assad regime or intervene more directly, and this week Barack Obama toughened his own rhetoric amid contested claims about Damascus using chemical weapons, the paper said.
But the new bi-national survey produced for YouGov-Cambridge, the polling company's academic think tank finds US voters opposed to the idea of supplying munitions by a 29-point margin: 45% against to 16% in favour.
Identical questions were posed in Britain, where David Cameron has, with the French president, Francois Hollande, recently tried and failed to persuade the EU to lift its arms embargo. But the British public emerges as even more strongly against: 57% oppose arming the rebels and 16% are in favour, the paper reported.
In both the UK and the US, opposition to arming the rebels is marked on the right as well as the left of the political spectrum: 52% of American Republicans and 63% of British Conservatives are against supplying arms, it said.
Any thought of sending western troops into Syria would also be badly received - especially in the UK. By a 32-point margin (55%-23%) Britons reject the idea of sending in UK and allied troops to protect civilians.
In the US too, proposals to put boots on the ground would run up against public opinion. Americans lean 33%-27% against sending in troops "to protect civilians", and are more decisively against directly enforcing regime change, splitting 42%-16% against, the paper concluded.