Poll: 76 percent of Britons Oppose Hague on Arming Terrorists in Syria

TEHRAN - Over three quarters of the public believes that Britain should avoid arming the terrorists in Syria, according to a poll in the wake of Britain's support for the lifting of an EU arms embargo, according to FNA.

More than half (58%) would support offering humanitarian aid.

Last week the European Union lifted its arms embargo on Syria, with the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, claiming that the decision gave the UK and others flexibility in responding to a worsening situation.

An Opinion/Observer poll published on Saturday suggested that public opinion would not be behind any military intervention, no matter how hands-off. In a sign of the public's changing attitude towards Britain's role in the world, 78% of those polled said that they believe the UK is too overstretched as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan to intervene in a new conflict. Nearly three quarters (72%) believe that the UK can no longer afford to act as a major military power. More than two thirds (69%) believe that the UK should restrict the military to protecting UK territory and providing humanitarian aid in times of crisis.

Respondents broadly disapproved of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with just under a third saying they supported them and around 60% opposing the interventions. Yesterday the United Nations said more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in May, the highest monthly death toll for years. Respondents were narrowly in favor of the no-fly zone in Libya, with 46% supporting it and 32% opposing it.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, has also questioned the policy. "How would the government prevent British-supplied weapons falling into the wrong hands, and how does supplying weapons help to secure a lasting peace?" he asked.

M.D