15 March 2016

Few Americans see US as Syrian war’s cause – or solution


Yesterday, as Syria’s bloody conflict marked its fifth horrific year and shortly before President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of some Russian troops from the country, we asked members of the YouGov First Verdict panel to identify who was responsible for initiating the tragic loss of an estimated 500,000 lives and, secondly, who had most responsibility for ending the civil war.

Most blamed President Assad’s violent putdown of protests against his regime for provoking the crisis and half thought militant Islamic groups had a “significant” responsibility. 41% pointed to the “civil war” within Islam between the Shia and Sunni interpretations of the Muslim faith. Only 19% blamed US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq for destabilising the region.

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In terms of bringing some kind of peace to Syria, other nations of the region (30%), the United Nations (29%) and Islamic holy leaders (23%) were all judged to have a bigger role to play than the USA. Only 16% of the YouGov panel members thought America had “most” responsibility for ending the war.

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For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

For the complete Portrait of America catalog, click here.

Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America