- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prepares to mark up a specific resolution authorizing military strikes in Syria Wednesday, a new poll shows a majority of Americans oppose the United States’ intervening in the war-torn country.

Fifty-six percent of adults say the U.S. should not intervene and 19 percent support action, a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos reported. The survey follows two others showing tepid public support for intervention.

Congressional leaders struck a deal late Tuesday on language that would grant President Obama the authority to conduct military strikes in Syria as long as they happen within 90 days and are limited to enforcing the administration’s “red line” prohibiting chemical weapons use.

One key to the agreement was to insist on strict checks to make sure Mr. Obama doesn’t have the authority to put U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, which senators felt was a gateway to getting more involved than what Americans are ready for.

Mr. Obama said on Saturday that the U.S. must respond to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 people and that the administration says was carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

When asked specifically about the chemical weapons attack, support for intervention ticked up marginally among those surveyed: 29 percent said the U.S. should intervene and 48 percent said it should not.

One part of the agreement presses the administration to devise a strategy for arming moderate rebels to strengthen them in their battle against Mr. Assad — a move supported by 29 percent and opposed by 49 percent of those surveyed.

The online poll of 1,195 adults was conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

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