MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. More than a third of Russians (37%) are sure that terrorists from the Islamic State (terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) were behind the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, a survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center showed on Wednesday.
"Nearly half of our fellow countrymen (46%) believe this was a chemical attack and that the IS (outlawed in Russia) was the organizer (37%)," the pollster stated. Another 17% of the respondents said this was not a chemical attack.
Only 4% of Russians say the chemical attack was plotted by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while 5% of those surveyed believe it was staged by the Syrian opposition, the poll says.
The poll finds that 54% of those interviewed believe that Russia should not support Assad if there is confirmation of his role in the attack. Some 26% of Russians said Moscow should keep backing the Syrian leader.
The poll was conducted on April 11-12 on the basis of interviews with 1,200 people, with a margin of error of 95% certainty, not exceeding 3.5%.
The incident in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun, where chemical weapons were allegedly used, occurred on April 4. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on that day Syrian aircraft hit workshops where terrorists were producing munitions containing chemical agents. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons. Following an order by US President Donald Trump, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from its warships in the Mediterranean at an air base located in Syria’s Homs Governorate in the early hours of April 7. The missile strike targeted what Washington claimed was the source of the chemical attack.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the US missile strike as an act of aggression against a sovereign state.