People know more about the Syrian civil war than I thought

bashar al assad painting.jpg
A mural of Bashar Al-Assad riddled with bullet holes. Courtesy of Reuters 

So yesterday, I conducted a poll  on SurveyMonkey to test how much people know about the Syrian civil war. Because few people pay attention to the news, I assumed that most people wouldn’t know the answers and low-balled everything to the most basic questions, but it turns out that a lot of the people who were polled knew a fair amount about the war.


With the first two questions, there was a large majority of people who knew the answer, with over 75% knowing that Aleppo was a city in Syria and close to 80% knowing that Bashar Al-Assad was the ‘president’ of Syria. But with the third question, the excellent track record begins to fall off. Because I knew people had probably heard about the large number of refugees in Germany, I made sure to include it in the answer choices, and 50% of respondents thought that Germany was the country that had taken the most refugees. The correct answer is actually Turkey, with a whopping 2.7 million refugees. Germany has only taken 600,000.


Again, large majorities knew the answers to the last few questions I asked, with over 60% choosing the right answers. It is interesting to note however, that 25% thought that ISIS was not actually in Syria and just sending arms and reinforcements to rebel groups.


Despite doing well on the survey, a lot of people were not confident about their answers to the questions, with almost 20% saying that they thought they did terribly. So that’s kind of interesting. A lot of the people who took the poll knew a fair amount about the Syrian war, but were disparaging about their own knowledge of the conflict.

It’s also important to note that I got all my participants from Facebook, and most of my friends on there are college-educated and more informed than the regular populace of America. Still, after doing these polls it’s clear to me that I should make the questions harder.

Compared to the Yemeni civil war, regular people know a lot about this conflict, that’s for sure.


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