China has supplies the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) with military equipment to combat the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, the Syrian 7al.net news website reported on June 22.
An officer in the SAA told the Syrian website that the equipment was supplied to the army’s 3rd Armored Division and the 25th Special Forces Division. Both units are deployed on Greater Idlib main frontlines.
The TIP, made up mainly from Chinese Uyghurs, has been active near the town of Jisr al-Shughur in northwestern Idlib, the town of Kabani in northern Lattakia and in the al-Ghab Plains in northwestern Hama. The terrorist group is a close ally of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib. It also operates with much freedom near Turkish forces in the region. The group has around 4,000 fighters.
Last year, the US removed the TIP, more known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, from its terror list. The move provoked China which was hit by the group’s terrorist activities.
According to 7al.net, the equipment supplied by China included JY-27 “Wide Mat” early warning radar and unidentified electronic warfare systems.
JY-27 radars, which has a detection range of up to 390 km, were spotted in Syria before. It’s unclear how these aerial radars would support the fight against the TIP in Greater Idlib. China may have supplied the SAA with the radars as a gesture of goodwill.
7al.net speculated that the support for the SAA may be the first step towards a direct Chinese military intervention against the TIP in Greater Idlib. This is very possible.
Over the last few years, several reports talked about a near Chinese military intervention in Syria on the side of the Damascus government. Nevertheless, none of these reports have materialized, so far.
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