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Syria Barometer Survey: Opinions about War in Syria and about Radical Action


A telephone survey of Syrians was conducted by market research company GfK from a European calling centers between May 6, 2016 and May 27, 2016. The survey was completed by 101 Syrian males between the ages of 18 and 71; although 87 percent of participants lived in an area controlled by Bashar al-Assad's forces, 52 percent were Sunni. Questions included opinions about life in Syria and in participants’ hometown since the beginning of the civil war; opinions about which political actor was responsible for the killing and suffering in Syria; opinions about justifiability of suicide bombing and support for ISIS; opinions about U.S. foreign policies; and attitude toward the idea of a “united states of Islam.”

Results indicated that most participants experienced significant hardships since the onset of the civil war in Syria. Surprisingly, most participants did not blame the Assad government, Russia or Iran for the war, and instead blamed the United States, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Turkey. Suicide bombing and support for ISIS received almost zero endorsement. Most participants believed the United States is waging a war on Islam and that U.S. foreign policies are dictated by Jewish interests. Comparisons with a recent survey of U.S. Muslims as well as correlations among some of the items offer potentially useful implications for military and security officials. Notably, Sunni participants did not differ from other religious traditions in support for the Syrian government.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Moskalenko, Sophia, and Clark McCauley. “Syria Barometer Survey: Opinions about War in Syria and about Radical Action,” Report to the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. College Park, MD: START, 2016. https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_DHS_SyriaBarometerSurvey_30June2016.pdf