VLADIMIR Putin’s intense campaign of airstrikes in Syria has the support of more than two in every three Britons, according to an exclusive Express.co.uk poll.
More than 27,000 people have voted in our Express.co.uk poll with 71 per cent saying they “support Vladimir Putin’s bombing campaign in Syria”, which is blitzing a large number of Islamic State owned buildings and vehicles.
The emphatic approval rating comes despite growing tensions between Russia and the US-led coalition, including Britain, over Putin’s actions in the Middle East.
Claims have been made Russia is predominantly targeting rebel forces against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who Moscow admits it wants to prop up.
However, Russia’s defence ministry has released a large number of videos of bombing raids on buildings from which ISIS operates.
Putin has said the terror organisation is the main target as he fears jihadis will launch an attack on his country if the group gets any stronger.
The fraught situation has seen tensions continue to escalate between Moscow and the coalition.
Yesterday, a bitter row broke out between the British and Russian governments after it was reported RAF Tornados operating over Iraq had been fitted with heat-seeking missiles for aerial combat and had been given permission to fire at Russian jets if attacked.
It has led to the Russian ambassador in London to say he “urgently requested explanations” from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office while Putin was said to be “furious”.
Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said: “The very premise of a potential conflict of UK and Russian combat aircraft over Iraq is incomprehensible.”
British pilots were given the shock order as UK ministers believe Russia is making the situation in the Middle East “much more dangerous”.
There are fears an air battle could take place sooner rather than later.
A UK senior defence source said: “We need to protect our pilots but at the same time we’re taking a step closer to war.
“It will only take one plane to be shot down in an air-to-air battle and the whole landscape will change.”
Putin’s support for Assad has raised huge concerns with the West which has been trying to remove the Syrian leader.
Assad’s government has been involved in a bloody civil war for the past four years, with rebels steadily gaining ground on Damascus, until Putin’s intervention in the battle at the end of September helped turn the tide.
However, some military experts suggest teaming up with Assad, who has been attacked for crimes against his own people including targeting them with barrel bombs, is the only way to defeat the scourge of ISIS in the Middle East.
SAS hero Chris Ryan told Express.co.uk last month a coalition between the West, Putin and Assad was the only hope of destroying the terror organisation.
He said: “For us to get ISIS would need to have a link up with Syria and the targeting of its strongholds. All the areas along the Anbar Province – between Iraq and Syria – that’s where we need to hit.
“The best idea would be to hit them both sides with Europe and the United States on one side and Russia on the other.”
However, David Cameron has repeatedly spoken out against Assad saying the Syrian leader had “butchered his own people”.