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The New Arab

Most Russians against Syria intervention: poll

Russia intervened in Syria in September 2015[Getty]

Date of publication: 6 September, 2017

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A new survey shows less than a third of Russians back Kremlin's military intervention backing Syria's Bashar al-Assad, nearly two years into the operation.

More than 49 percent of Russians do not back President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Syria, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

Less than 30 percent of respondents said they do not want Russia’s military activities in Syria to continue, figures from Russian independent pollster Levada Center suggest.

However, some 22 percent remained undecided on the matter, the survey showed.

Russia has been providing air cover for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s offensive against both Islamic State group and moderate rebels since 2015, in a bid to back the embattled leader after more than three years of unrest, following a crushed uprising.

Russian airstrikes are accused of killing some 10,000 people in the first year alone - though Russia has denied inflicting any collateral damage.

Last month, Russia’s Ministry of Defence said ten Russian servicemen have been killed fighting in Syria so far this year, although reports estimate the number to be at least 40.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria. 

As well as the use of chemical weapons, brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime have included sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians, leading to war crimes investigations.

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