Middle East

Most Turks oppose intervention in Syria if Assad falls: poll

Free Syrian Army fighters from the Al-Faruk brigade rest outside the destroyed immigration department building at Tal Abyad, a Turkish-Syrian border crossing captured by the rebels, eastern Syria, Saturday Sept. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

ANKARA: A narrow majority of Turks is opposed to any intervention by their country in Syria if President Bashar al-Assad's regime falls, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

Fifty-one percent of people surveyed believe that Turkey, which shares a long border with Syria, must "remain impartial without favouring any side" in the Syrian crisis, according to the Edam Centre survey.

Eighteen percent of Turks surveyed think that Ankara must play the role of mediator among the conflicting sides, it said.

Ten percent of Turks believe that Turkey should send soldiers to Syria within the framework of a peacekeeping force that would be headed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the United Nations, it added.

The poll was carried out by the Edam Centre for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies and Research on a representative sample of 1,500 people.

Championing the cause of the Syrian opposition which has been calling for the ouster of the Assad regime since March 2011, Turkey has sheltered Free Syria Army rebel leaders and now hosts more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

Tensions surged between the two former allies after a Syrian mortar bomb killed five Turkish civilians when it landed inside Turkey at the beginning of October.





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