Is China Preparing for Military Involvement in Syrian Crisis?

Thursday, August 18, 2016
By Paul Martin

SputnikNews.com
18.08.2016

Earlier this week, a senior Chinese military officer visited Damascus to discuss closer ties between Syria and China.

Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, met Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua reported.

“China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Guan was quoted as saying.

Beijing and Damascus also discussed personnel training and reached a consensus on the Chinese military providing humanitarian aid to Syria, according to Xinhua.

After China adopted a law authorizing its armed forces to conduct counterterrorist operations abroad many experts predicted that Beijing may get involved in the Syrian conflict. However, that did not happen.
“Personnel training” could mean training of technical personnel for the Syrian Army in China, said Vasily Kashin, senior research fellow at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

“Previously, China supplied camouflage equipment, vehicles and possibly light weapons to the Syrian Army. Now, China could start training Syrian military personnel. But I think China’s involvement in Syria will be limited. Beijing is cautiously watching Syria. Maybe now China wants a more active role,” the expert told the Russian analytical website Svobodnaya Pressa.

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