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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 11/09/2012

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A Syrian refugee holds her child as she sits in a tent at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, near the border with Syria, on Sunday (Reuters photo)
(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A nearly two-thirds majority of Jordanians favour closing the Kingdom's borders to more Syrian refugees, a poll released on Monday showed.

The survey, conducted between August 27 and 31 by the Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan, polled 1,800 Jordanians over 18 and a smaller group of 700 "opinion leaders" such as political figures, academicians and journalists on their attitudes toward the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

Sixty-five per cent of the national sample said they were "against receiving more Syrian refugees", compared to only 39 per cent among the opinion leaders.

Large majorities of both groups (80 and 86 per cent) said it was better to keep Syrian refugees in camps, while 74 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively, said the presence of Syrian refugees outside designated camps would pose a threat to national security and stability.

Similarly large majorities (88 and 86 per cent) of both samples agreed that the Syrian refugees were placing increased pressure on economic resources and public services such as water and electricity.

As to potential solutions to the civil conflict in Syria, a vast majority expressed a preference for a peaceful solution and opposed any foreign military intervention.

Only 5 per cent of the total respondents favoured foreign military intervention to resolve the crisis in Syria, while 54 per cent of the national sample said changing the current president and government would be the best solution and 19 per cent said the solution was to form a transitional government to hold free elections under international supervision.

The opinion leaders diverged somewhat from the national sample on this issue, with only 34 per cent saying a change of leadership would resolve the crisis and 43 per cent favouring the transitional government scenario described above.

Regarding the Syrian opposition's decision to take up arms against the regime, 46 per cent of the national sample and 38 per cent of the opinion leaders said that the shift from a peaceful uprising to an armed rebellion was in the interest of the Syrian people.

Small majorities (57 per cent of the national sample and 64 per cent of the opinion leaders) believed that the Syrian opposition powers were linked with foreign governments.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of the national sample and 41 per cent of the opinion leaders described the events in Syria as a revolution of the people against the regime, while 56 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, described the situation as an external conspiracy against Syria.

While 57 per cent of the national sample and 55 per cent of the opinion leaders were in favour of establishing buffer zones in Syria for refugees, only 9 per cent and 2 per cent favoured setting up these zones near the country's southern borders with Jordan.

On Jordan's official position toward the Syrian crisis, 53 per cent of the national sample and 57 per cent of the opinion leaders described it as "neutral", while only 32 per cent and 21 per cent said that the Kingdom's official stance supported the Syrian revolution.


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