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Russians show certain support for military intervention in Syria – polls

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(Interfax – September 11, 2013) The overwhelming majority of Russians (84 per cent) know or heard about the military conflict in Syria that has been continuing for over two years, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 11 September quoting a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation among 1,500 people in 43 constituent parts of Russia on 31 August-1 September.

People sympathize with the Syrian authorities (28 per cent) rather than with insurgents (5 per cent). However, most of those polled do not support either of them (40 per cent).

A total of 32 per cent of those polled believe that the international community should intervene in the conflict in Syria and 35 per cent say that it should not.

If the military intervention does happen, according to 40 per cent of respondents Russia should not be involved in it; 18 per cent say that in this case Moscow should back the Syrian authorities and 2 per cent believe that Russia should support insurgents.

Those who oppose the intervention say that “each country should decide itself which way to follow”. They also fear that Russia may be drawn into hostilities as a result of which “our soldiers will die”. According to them, “Russia has many problems of its own” and all conflicts should be solved only peacefully. Some respondents fear that other countries’ interference in this conflict may end up in the “world war”.

According to a poll carried out by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), 50 per cent of respondents are against other countries’ interference in the conflict in Syria, while 36 per cent say that the international community should influence the situation.

A total of 77 per cent of those polled oppose an international military operation in Syria. It should be noted that during a conflict in Libya in 2011, 64 per cent of respondents were against the international interference, while now only 11 per cent say they would approve this move.

If a decision to carry out an international operation is made, according to 43 per cent of respondents, Russia should not participate in it; 23 per cent of those polled believe that Russia should help Syria primarily with weapons.

The VTsIOM poll was carried out among 1,600 people in 42 constituent parts of Russia on 31 August-1 September.

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