A narrow majority of French people would support a UN-authorised military intervention to end the bloody crackdown on protesters by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to a poll released by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) on Friday.
In a survey of nearly 1,000 people, pollster IFOP found that approximately 51 percent said they would support military intervention in Syria if it was authorised by the United Nations. Of those, 17 percent said they would strongly support such an operation while 34 percent said they would somewhat support it.
Since mid-March last year, pro-democracy demonstrations have spread across Syria, resulting in a fierce government crackdown which has left more than 7,000 people killed. The Syrian government claims violent acts against protesters are being carried out by 'terrorists dressed as soldiers,' but international observers have rejected these statements.
The support in France for military intervention in Syria is considerably greater than it was for Libya, where the regime of Muammar Gaddafi also launched a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. A UN resolution led to military intervention in Libya with NATO forces establishing a no-fly zone and carrying out hundreds of airstrikes against Gaddafi's forces.
The IFOP poll in March 2011 showed that approximately 36 percent of French people supported military intervention in Libya, but only seven percent of them voiced strong support. A majority of 63 percent said they were against UN-sanctioned military intervention in Libya, which eventually led to the death of Gaddafi and protesters taking control of the country.
But while French may support a UN-authorized military intervention in Syria, only 38 percent said they would be in favor of French forces being involved in such an operation. Approximately 62 percent said they would not favor French forces being involved in military intervention.