British Public Oppose War With Syria, As MPs Prepare To Debate Intervention

British Public Oppose War With Syria

With just over 24 hours to go before Parliament debates whether the UK will intervene in Syria, most of the British people are against involvement in another conflict, a poll shows.

David Cameron will chair a meeting of the National Security Council on Wednesday to discuss possible military action against Syria, and on Tuesday night the US pledged it would publicly release its intelligence regarding the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad.

But despite the pictures of bodies wrapped in white sheets, children with limp limbs and mourning mothers after Wednesday's apparent chemical attack outside Damascus, a YouGov survey for The Sun revealed that 74% oppose deploying British troops to the conflict-torn country, perhaps demonstrating that scars from intervention in Iraq are too raw.

A convoy of United Nations (UN) vehicles leave a hotel in Damascus on August 26, 2013 carrying UN inspectors travelling to the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapon attack

The survey also found that there has only been a slight increase in support since news of the deadly chemical attack emerged a week ago.

24% say the atrocity has turned them in favour of action, while it has had the opposite effect on 5%. Meanwhile two-fifths said they remained against any involvement.

And 50% of Britons oppose attacking even with long range missiles from ships, while just a quarter are in favour of it.

It showed that British military involvement is unpopular no matter what political party people support, with Ukip voters the most strongly against it at 68%.

The poll also showed that nearly half oppose enforcing a no-fly-zone, while nearly two-thirds were against sending full-scale weapons including tanks.

And it found that a majority of almost 3-1 also think the Government should be bound by Parliament's vote .

The Archbishop of Canterbury is one of the voices urging caution, warning MPs not to rush in their decision.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he feared the possible consequences of intervention saying they were "beyond description and horrible".

He said: "The things which MPs will have to bear in mind in what is going to be a very, very difficult debate is firstly: are we sure about the facts on the ground?

"Secondly: Is it possible to have a carefully calibrated response including armed force, if you are sure about the facts on the ground, that does not have unforeseeable ramifications across the whole Arab and Muslim world?"

"I have had a lot of conversations with people in the region. I think the overwhelming sense is of a really moving and terrible sense of fear about what might come out of, what might be happening in the next few weeks - not predicated on people doing one thing or people doing another, just a sense that this a terribly, terribly dangerous time," he told the Daily Telegraph.

Archbishop Welby, who visited the region in June, said the situation had deteriorated since his visit. He said "I think it has got worse since then. I can scarcely remember a time of being in meetings where there was such a sense of apprehension, I mean it was tangible, this sense of 'What will happen? What will be the impact on us?'....the impact on people not directly involved in the fighting is beyond description and horrible".

He added: "I am extremely conscious of my own lack of knowledge having spent a lot of time in the area over the years very much in the reconciliation area, so dealing with the people involved in these things.

"I am deeply, deeply aware of the enormous complexity and inter-linkedness of everything that happens there."

He acknowledged, however, that the Government was better informed than he, making clear that he had no sense that politicians were "slavering" to "unleash the dogs of war".

Before You Go