June 2, 2012 / 11:43 AM / 8 years ago

French warming to armed intervention in Syria : poll

PARIS (Reuters) - A widening majority of French people favor military intervention in Syria and more believe France should participate, according to the first poll on the issue since a recent massacre in the country.

The Ifop poll on Saturday showed backing for military intervention at 58 percent, up from 51 percent in February, and support for French involvement surging to 50 percent from 38 percent.

Ifop said that the increase “is undoubtedly linked to the multiplication of war crimes blamed on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and their recent media coverage”.

Outrage at last week’s mass killings in the Syrian town of Houla has prompted France to join several Western nations in stepping up pressure on Syria by expelling senior diplomats and calling on Russia to allow tougher action by the U.N. Security Council.

France’s new President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that military intervention could not be ruled out as long as it was carried out under the auspices of a U.N. Security Council resolution.

As the Syria crisis escalates, Hollande is under pressure to show the same decisiveness and leadership that his conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy did in the Libyan crisis last year.

Hollande failed to win backing from Russia’s Vladimir Putin in talks in Paris on Friday for more sanctions on Syria, which he said were an essential part of a political solution.

The Ifop online poll, carried out from May 30 to June 1 for regional newspaper Ouest France, surveyed 1,000 people over the age of 18.

Reporting by Sophie Louet; writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by David Cowell

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