Three in five (61%) feel they can put their differences behind them and live side by side again. However, there is widespread belief that the conflict will continue for years, rather than months. There is also little support for dividing the country and creating a federal system. 88% disagree that the solution in Syria is to divide the country into autonomous regions.
These are the findings of a face-to-face survey conducted across all fourteen governorates in Syria, including those under the control of Daesh.
ORB has been tracking public opinion in Syria since 2013. The survey reveals a majority feel that Coalition is having a negative influence on affairs inside Syria (63%). This compares with majorities feeling Daesh (85%), Nusrah (71%), the YPG (78%) and Western backed Syrian Democratic Forces (67%) are also having a negative influence. It is only the FSA (43%) and Turkey (45%) who have anywhere near a majority saying they are having a positive influence.
There is however widespread support for a political solution (62%) and for Syria to have ‘free and fair elections’ (80%). At any election opinion is divided on whether President Assad should be allowed to stand – 60% say he should be barred….opposition to his involvement is strongest in Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, Daraa and Der’zor. However, President Assad may not require an election as he continues to make further ground in the six year old conflict. Two in five (42%) Syrians now believe President Assad looks most likely to claim victory in the battle for Syria – but this figure changes significantly by region. Yet, a plurality (45%) would like the FSA to be the victor (vs 34% wanting to see President Assad claim victory)
The survey adds further light to the deteriorating circumstances faced by families still trapped in Syria. 59% report a worsening in access to fuel, 57% a worsening in access to electricity. In areas such as Aleppo the food, electricity, medicine, water and fuel situations are all said to be worse than they were compared with six months ago.
Perhaps most disturbing are the numbers who seem resigned to the fact that this conflict will continue for a while yet. Less than one in three (31%) feel this conflict will end within a year (despite multiple rounds of international peace talks). 40% are hopeful it could be over within 1 to 2 years, while 30% feel it will continue for 3 or more years.
Finally, our survey asked respondents what they think the future may look like. A sizeable percentage (37%) fear that “even if Daesh is defeated militarily their ideology will likely re-emerge with another group in the future”, while 40% also agree that “even if President Assad is replaced his regime and ideology will always control Syria”.
Johnny Heald, Managing Director of ORB International, said: “These results provide a unique take on public opinion inside Syria. The story is one of continuing struggle for ordinary Syrians with no end in sight. A majority seek a diplomatic solution but remain pessimistic that anything will happen soon. Free and fair elections would be an end goal but opinion is divided on whether President Assad should be allowed to stand.
While the conflict continues to focus on Daesh the concern in the long run is that even if they are defeated militarily, their ideology may well remerge under a different brand”.
N.B. Sample Size and Mode of Field Work: In Syria, ORB interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1005 adults across all 14 governorates throughout Syria – including those under the control of ISIL in Raqaa, DerZor and Hasakeh.
Rather than using an outdated census, ORB has weighted the data to the average unweighted demographic profile from its previous three surveys conducted throughout Syria. Fieldwork took place February 5-14th 2017.