HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 27, 2014 – A High Point University professor has been tracking public opinion from rebel-controlled territories in Syria since August, and has some insight into what citizens have to say about the violence in their country and what it will take to bring peace. This comes as Syrian peace talks continue in Switzerland this week.
Dr. Sam Whitt, assistant professor of political science, says one of the biggest challenges civilians see is rebel groups fighting each other and not Assad.
“Assad is almost universally vilified in our study, and Syria’s opposition leaders will need public support to fulfill commitments made in Geneva, if any, with Assad’s representatives,” says Whitt. “But for peace to be realized beyond Geneva, the opposition must also transition from a patchwork coalition of fractured interests and grievances into a united front, with a clearer vision for the future to win back lost trust and confidence on the ground.”
Whitt is working on the survey with Vera Mironova, a visiting scholar at UC-San Diego and Loubna Mrie, a Syrian freelance journalist who conducted all survey interviews for the study.