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More than half of Russians say air operation in Syria must go on — poll

April 20, 2017, 12:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Fifty three percent believe that the military operation in Syria must continue, while 34% are against it

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© Russian Defense Ministry's press service/TASS

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. More than half of Russians (53%) believe that the country should go ahead with the air operation in Syria, while 34% opposed the idea, as follows from an opinion poll by the national public opinion research center VTsIOM, published on Thursday.

"Fifty three percent believe that the military operation in Syria must go on, while 34% are against it," the pollster said. The share of Russians who want the operation in Syria to end has grown from 25% in 2016.

About the US missile strike against a military base in Syria most respondents (82%) said it was a US provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation. A tiny 6% think that the strike was a natural response to the suspected use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities. At the same time more than one-third (35%) of the polled failed to offer an answer to the question about Russia’s proper response to the incident. Part of the respondents (14%) believe that Russia should stay neutral, and one in ten came out in support of Syria and its President Bashar Assad (11%) or for an independent investigation (11%).

"Only 6% of the polled Russians agree with the US vision of the chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province. To most Russians the US missile strike against a Syrian Air Force Base looks at least like unprovoked and illegal aggression, or as a provocation bound to entail far-reaching consequences," the pollster’s general director, Valery Fyodorov said.

The VTsIOM-Sputnik opinion poll was held on April 11-12, 2017. The pollster questioned an audience of 1,200. The margin of error did not exceed 3.5%.

In the small hours of April 7 two US naval ships in the Mediterranean launched 59 cruise missiles Tomahawk at a military airdrome in Syria’s Homs province on orders from President Donald Trump. The US leadership said the strike was in retaliation for alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib province. The Russian Defense Ministry said Syrian planes on April 4 bombed workshops were militants were making chemical weapons for their subsequent supply to Iraq and use in Aleppo. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow regarded the US air strikes against the military base in Homs as an act of aggression against a sovereign state.

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