Poll: 51% of Syrians support peace deal with Israel for Golan
By The Associated Press Last update - 08:56 01/08/2007
Fifty-one percent of Syrians said they would favor peace with Israel if it
withdraws from the Golan Heights and recognizes Syrian sovereignty there,
according to a poll released Wednesday.
In addition, three-fourths of respondents also said they support financial
assistance for Iraqi fighters, the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic
Jihad, and Hezbollah.
The poll was sponsored by Terror Free Tomorrow, a bipartisan organization
that seeks to erode support for international terrorism. Its advisory board
includes Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Republican presidential candidate,
and former House Speaker Thomas Foley, a Democrat from Washington state.
Earlier this month, the group released a survey of Iranians that found most
favored their country developing nuclear weapons.
In the poll that dealt largely with U.S.-Syrian relations, most respondents
said they favor working with the United States to seek an end to the Iraq
war, yet also support financing Iraqi insurgents and other Middle East
groups the U.S. considers terrorists.
The survey also found that an overwhelming number of Syrians consider trade
and political relations with Western countries important, but they narrowly
oppose closer ties to the U.S.
The United States has largely sought to isolate Syria, which it considers a
major destabilizing influence in the Middle East
The U.S. has repeatedly accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross
its border into Iraq to join forces with al-Qaida and anti-U.S. insurgent
groups, which Syria denies. Syria has also been accused of helping the
Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, Palestinian radicals and other militant
In the poll, 63 percent of Syrians said they favor their country working
with the U.S. to resolve the war in Iraq. By a slight 44 percent to 39
percent margin, most said they oppose fighters crossing from Syria into
In addition, seven in 10 said Syria should refuse U.S. investments and trade
to create more jobs in Syria, with similar numbers opposing U.S. investments
in energy refineries and U.S. humanitarian aid.
Even though they do not support the U.S. - in fact that's an understatement,
they're very negative about the U.S. - they still want to work with the
U.S., said Ken Ballen, president of Terror Free Tomorrow. They still want
the war resolved, and they're willing for their government to work with the
U.S. to resolve it.
The telephone survey of 1,004 adult Syrians was conducted in Arabic for
Terror Free Tomorrow by D3 Systems of Vienna, Virginia, from July 11 to 14.
An estimated 75 percent to 80 percent of Syrian households have landline
The calls were made from a country near Syria that Terror Free Tomorrow did
not identify, saying it wanted to protect the interviewers' confidentiality.
Telephone interviews were used to speed the research process and because
in-person questioners in Syria may face harassment, the group said.
The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage
points. The results were weighted, or adjusted, to ensure that responses
reflected the actual number of Syrians living in rural areas, and those over