CHICAGO, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Americans largely support the U.S. military's involvement in fighting the Islamic State militant group in Syria -- but are less supportive of similar Pentagon efforts aimed at removing President Bashar Assad's regime from power there, according to new research.
The U.S. military is involved in a two-pronged effort in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation -- one to defeat Islamic State militants, and the other to support rebels opposed to Assad's embattled government. A new survey commissioned by the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs, though, shows that Americans are generally favoring only the former.
Exactly how the United States government provides that support, however, is a bit less clear.
"Seven in ten Americans overall support conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups in Syria, including majorities across the political spectrum," the organization said in a news release Monday.
Nearly 60 percent are okay with sending special operations forces to fight militants in Syria, but only 47 percent approve sending actual combat ground troops there for that purpose.
When it comes to fighting Assad, however, the numbers go way down.
Just 26 percent of those surveyed said they support sending arms and supplies to Syria for use against its president's regime. Thirty-one percent favor a peace agreement that would allow Assad to stay in power -- a prospect that President Barack Obama's administration has repeatedly said is a non-starter.
Rebels have been fighting Assad's forces, with aid from the United States, since the civil war began in 2011. The Syrian government, meanwhile, receives support from the Russian military and President Vladimir Putin.
The new research also showed that just 36 percent of Americans surveyed, mostly Democrats, support accepting Syrian refugees into the United States. Obama said earlier this year the U.S. government will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.
The poll, conducted by GfK Custom Research, surveyed nearly 2,100 people between June 10-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 to 3.5 percentage points.