On the 7th anniversary of the start of the conflict, new research from ORB International has found Syrians now expect Assad to claim victory in the battle for Syria. 52% think the Regime will likely win the war, up from 42% when the same poll was conducted in 2017 .
In a rare survey of public opinion across all 14 regions of Syria, our face-to-face poll of 1,001 adults shows:-
- Over half of Syrians (52%) believe that Assad will win the conflict – a large increase since 2017
Significant proportions of Syrians are growing tired of the conflict, and many think that Basheer Al-Assad will end up the victor when the war is over. When ORB International last ran this survey in 2017, 42% thought Assad was most likely to claim victory, which has now increased to 52% in 2018.
The recent military defeat of ISIS is reflected in the decrease in those thinking they will win, now down to only 1% (from 6% last year) . Support for ISIS has almost disappeared – only 3% of the country think their influence is positive (down from 13% last year and 21% in 2015).
Whether or not an Assad victory is good for the future of the country is wide open – Although 39% agree that the country is heading in the right direction, this is a large drop since 2017 when 57% agreed with this statement.
- Looking to the future, Syrians want free and fair elections across a united Syria
There is a total rejection of dividing the country up; 83% oppose the country splitting into autonomous regions. There is also a great appetite for free and fair elections (and 41% say Assad should be allowed to stand).
However Syrians do not see an immediate end to the conflict; although 9% think it will be within the next 6 months, 24% think it will be within 6-12 months, 26% within 1-2 years while one in five respondents (22%) think it will be more than three years.
Given there has been six full years of conflict it is still encouraging to see that 65% think Syrians can put their differences aside and live side by side again…so hope does still exist.
But what of the millions of Syrians who have left the country since the start of the conflict? Of the three in ten (30%) respondents who say a first-degree family member has left since the start the war, only 24% think their family member will return if Assad wins, 65% if the Opposition forces win, and 66% if a transitional period begins.
- The International Coalition and its partner the SDF are not viewed positively
Only 26% think that the influence of the International Coalition has been positive, and 69% think their influence has been somewhat or strongly negative. A further 57% think the West has played a negative role in supporting Syrian people to restore their rights.
What should also be a concern to strategic planners is the findings which shows 70% of respondents think the Syrian Democratic Forces – the International Coalition’s strategic partner of choice – has had a negative influence on the country.
The role of neighbouring Tukey and President Erdogan is viewed positively by the people of Syria, 41% say Turkey’s influence in the conflict has been somewhat or strongly positive. Although 41% say Russia’s role in the conflict has been positive, only 20% of those living outside of Regime-controlled areas think of Russia’s role as positive.
- The situation is getting better in some areas of Syria, and worse in others
Syrians living in Opposition controlled areas are more likely than their counterparts in Regime or Kurdish controlled locations to say that their access to basic services have worsened in the past year.
The table below shows a comparison by the three main areas of control in Syria – overall access to food, medicine and drinking water have improved over the last six months, access to electricity and fuel deteriorated. However, as the poll reveals there are significantly different experiences for those still living in Opposition held areas than those living in areas under the control of the Regime or the Kurds.
With regards to providing relief and basic services, Syrians living in areas outside of the control of the Assad Regime, trust NGOs and local relief organisations to provide aid, rather than international NGOs such as the UN, or the Assad Regime itself.
Johnny Heald, Managing Director of ORB International said:
This is a rare snapshot of national opinion in Syria, and it’s clear from the results that regional experiences are becoming more polarised, and that outside forces in the conflict are overwhelmingly viewed as negative. This poll shows a large increase in belief that Bashar Al-Assad will likely be the victor at the end of the conflict…something which will do very little to encourage the millions who have fled to return. There is no immediate light at the end of the tunnel as Syrians enter a 7th year of conflict.
Download the full charts here.
Notes to editors:-
Sample Size and Mode of Field Work:
ORB interviewed a nationally-representative sample of 1001 adults across all 14 governorates throughout Syria – including those under the control of Daesh in Raqaa and Deir Ezzor. 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 5th-12th March.
About ORB International
ORB International has been polling in fragile and conflict states regularly since 2004. Our work has covered Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Mali etc. We have worked successfully with over 150 clients in the private, public and voluntary sectors in over 80 countries. Driven by a team of highly experienced market research professionals with specialist knowledge across a wide breadth of sectors, we are proud to deliver both qualitative and quantitative research at the highest level.
ORB International is the UK representative of Gallup International, one of the world’s longest running international research associations.
We not only understand how best to research stakeholder attitude, behaviour and opinion, but also how clients can best use our analysis and findings both strategically (in developing policy and communications) and tactically (for advertising, generating media interest and building a winning argument across the stakeholder community).
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Cover photo by Beshr Abdulhadi used under Creative Commons Generic 2.0 License