Poll: 54% of Americans Oppose Giving Direct Military Aid to Syrian Rebels

By Ryan Kierman | June 18, 2013 | 12:50 PM EDT

A Syrian rebel fighter near Azaz, Syria. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – According to a Gallup poll released on Monday, 54% of Americans oppose the Obama administration’s recent decision to provide military aid to Syrian rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

In the telephone survey of 1,015 adults, Gallup asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the Obama administration’s decision to supply direct military aid to Syrian rebels fighting against the government in Syria?”

The results of the poll, conducted June 15-16, showed that 54% disapproved of direct military aid to the Syrian rebels and only 37% approved. Another 9% said "don't know."

In addition, for those adults “following the Syrian situation very or somewhat closely,” 51% disapproved of arming the rebels and 44% approved while 5% said they “don’t know.”

For those “following the Syrian situation not too or not at all closely,” the survey showed 57% disapproved of arming the rebels and 31% approved while 13% said they “don’t know.”

When viewed by political affiliation, 63% of Republicans disapproved of arming the Syrian rebels, as did 60% of Independents; for the Democrats, 42% disapproved and 51% approved.

On Thursday, June 13, the Obama administration issued a press release that said, “Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year. …   The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date.”

Last August, concerning potential U.S. action against Syria, President Barack Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.”

On Tuesday, June 18, Assad told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that his army had not used chemical weapons, stating, "If Paris, London, and Washington had any evidence for their claims [of chemical weapons usage], they would have submitted it to the global public."