Three in Five Syrians Support International Military Involvement

One month on from Bashar al-Assad winning re-election with a widely reported 90% of the vote, a new survey from ORB International reveals that just one in three Syrians (35%) believe that the President and his regime best represent the interests and aspirations of the Syrian people.

Now more than three years old the crisis shows little sign of drawing to a conclusion.  Perhaps as a result, three in five (60%) of the population would support “international military involvement in Syria”.  In government controlled regions this drops to 11% (Tartus), 36% (Damascus) and rises in those areas currently largely controlled by the opposition – Al Raqqah (82%), Aleppo (61%), Idlib (88%).

With current attention on ISIS, just 4% of the country said they best represented the interests and aspirations of the Syrian people, although in ISIS controlled Al Raqqah this increases to 24%.  Nationally 9% mention the Free Syrian Army, with 9% also mentioning the Jabhat al-Nusra, increasing to 21% in Idlib.

Johnny Heald from ORB International writes “This is a unique insight into public opinion in Syria.  A majority of Syrians want international military involvement to help end the conflict and allow them to rebuild their livelihoods.  They don’t believe the extremist groups best represent their views”.

Findings come from a rare face-to-face poll of 1014 Syrian adults conducted throughout government and opposition held governorates across 12 of the 14 regions in Syria, including Aleppo, Damascus and Al Raqqah.  Fieldwork took place between the 6th and 29th May 2014.

Evidence of the humanitarian impact on daily life reveal 76% having had shortages of electricity in the last six months, 50% shortage of food, 45% medicine and 42% water.  In areas such as Aleppo these percentages are significantly higher.

There is also evidence to suggest that Bashar al-Assad’s position is strengthened from a year ago.  In response to the question “how long do you think the current government can stay in power?” less than one in ten (7%) feel he will be gone within 12 months.  An overwhelming majority (71%) feel he will be there for three or more years.  And in the opposition city of Aleppo where fighting has been severe, 68% agree that it will be at least three years.

His recent election may have only been held in the government controlled areas, but our survey asked people whether they trusted the integrity of the electoral system in Syria.  Just 38% said they did, 44% said they did not while 18% were undecided.