Publication Date : Friday 26 September 2014 16:00
Isis air strikes: British public 'back military action' against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
A YouGov poll has suggested the majority of the British public back RAF air strikes targeting Isis in Iraq and in Syria.
The poll conducted for The Sun comes hours before MPs prepare to vote on joining US-led attacks in Iraq against the Islamist extremists.
Over half (57 per cent) of UK residents surveyed said they supported bombing Isis (also known as Islamic State) in Iraq, up by a fifth from a similar poll last month, compared to 24 per cent who were against the move.
Additionally, 51 per cent gave their backing to strikes on Isis positions in Syria against 26 per cent who said no.
Forty-three per cent backed the once hugely unpopular option of sending ground troops to Iraq, or considering sending them there.
This support comes despite the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warning the campaign against Isis could be a "long haul", telling The House magazine he did not dissent from the “two to three years” estimated by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State.
The Foreign Secretary has refused to speculate on how long a military campaign against Isis could last, saying: "It will take as long as it takes. I don't think anybody can put a timeframe on it."
Isis have advanced across swathes of of Iraq and Syria in recent months, declaring a 'caliphate' across its strongholds.
On Thursday, the FBI claimed it has identified the British Isis militant known as Jihadi John who appeared to have beheaded British aid worker David Haines, and two US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, in three brutal videos released by the group.
Their announcement came after Philip Hammond said intelligence agencies are "getting warm" in identifying the masked fighter.
The Tories, Liberal Democrats and Labour all support joining strikes against Isis, which the coalition says is legal because they have been requested by the Iraqi government.
Today’s motion will promise another vote before air strikes are extended to Syria, although Some Conservative MPs are already calling for bombing in the country because Isis is active there and does not recognise the border with Iraq.
However, some MPs, including Diane Abbott and John McDonell have expressed fierce opposition to military action in the country.
An open letter to The Guardian opposing intervention read: “All the experience of the varied military action taken by the west in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya shows that such interventions kill innocents, destroy infrastructure and fragment societies, and in the process spread bitterness and violence.”
If agreed by parliament, the UK would expect to join US-led international air campaign within days. However, the bombing may not prove that intense as IS is understood to have relatively limited numbers of fixed positions that can be attacked.