Most French oppose attack on Syria and don't trust Hollande to do it: Poll

French President Francois Hollande (left) meets with United States President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 18, 2012. Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria an
French President Francois Hollande (left) meets with United States President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 18, 2012. Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria and most do not trust Mr Hollande to do so, a poll showed on Saturday, Aug 31, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria and most do not trust French President Francois Hollande to do so, a poll showed on Saturday.

The United States said on Friday it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus last week, and Mr Hollande said Britain's parliamentary vote against military strikes would not affect France's own actions.

The BVA poll released by Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui en France, showed 64 per cent of respondents opposed military action, 58 per cent did not trust Mr Hollande to conduct it, and 35 per cent feared it could "set the entire region (Middle East) ablaze".

Two other opinion polls published this week, and carried out after the gas attack, indicated lukewarm support among French voters for military intervention in Syria.

Mr Hollande, whose popularity has been hurt by economic gloom, showed unexpected military mettle when he dispatched troops to help Mali's government fend off Islamist rebels earlier this year, an intervention backed by two-thirds of the public.