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Syrian President Assad Likely to Visit China Soon

8 September 2016 7:28

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Arab media outlets reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted China’s invitation to visit Beijing in the next few weeks.

According to al-Safir newspaper, China has demanded Syria to allow the country’s fighter jets use Tartus airbase, a port city in the Mediterranean coasts, and sent Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei to Syria on August 16 to discuss the issue with the Syrian officials.

During the first three years of war in Syria, the Chinese showed conservatism in signing arms deals with Damascus but in the past one and a half years, they have shown more willingness to implements their military agreements with Syria.

The report came after media sources disclosed last month that a Chinese military delegation in a visit to Damascus explored avenues for the dispatch of a number of warplanes to Syria to intensify war on terrorism in the Middle-Eastern country.

“In a surprising visit, a Chinese military delegation conferred with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij over engagement of Chinese fighter jets in the bombardment of terrorist groups’ positions in Syria, mainly in Aleppo,” Debka file quoted a military analyst as saying.

“Chinese jets may launch bombing of positions of Jeish al-Islami al-Turkistani with over 3,000 Uighur fighter,” the analyst quoted senior spy officers of the US intelligence as saying.

Also in August, Beijing and Damascus agreed that the Chinese military to provide humanitarian aid to Syria, a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer said, adding that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors was also been discussed.

Guan arrived in Damascus for talks with al-Freij.

During the negotiation, Guan noted China’s consistent diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, adding that Beijing is now seeking closer military ties with Damascus.

“The Chinese and Syrian militaries traditionally have a friendly relationship, and the Chinese military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with the Syrian military,” he said.

Guan and al-Freij discussed the enhancement of training and “reached a consensus” on the Chinese military providing humanitarian aid to Syria. Guam also met with a Russian general during his visit to the Syrian capital.

Despite being a permanent UN Security Council member and relying on the Middle East for oil, China was previously reluctant to become involved in the Syrian conflict.

Beijing preferred to concentrate on domestic affairs and the territorial dispute with its neighbors in the South China Sea.

It praised Moscow’s anti-terrorism efforts in Syria as Russia staged a bombing campaign there in September 2015 to March 2016. Russia still has some of its forces in the country to provide humanitarian and military assistance to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

Last year, there were reports that China was sending dozens of military advisers to Syria to help the country fight terrorists.

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