On August 3, China’s ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin said during an interview with the Syrian al-Watan newspaper that the Chinese military is willing to participate in some way in any military operation of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) against the radical groups in the northern governorate of Idlib.
“[China] is following the situation in Syria, in particular after the victory in southern [Syria], and its military is willing to participate in some way alongside the Syrian army that is fighting the terrorists in Idlib and in any other part of Syria,” Qianjin said answering a question about the possibility of China’s participation in a military operation in Idlib.
When asked the same question, China’s military attaché Wong Roy Chang noted that any involvement of the Chinese military in Idlib operation will require a political decision.
“The military cooperation between the Syrian and Chinese armies is ongoing. We have good relations and we maintain this cooperation in order to serve the security, integrity and stability of our countries. We – China and its military – wish to develop our relations with the Syrian Army. As for participating in the Idlib operation, it requires a political decision,” Chang said.
Syrian observers believe that thousands of radical fighters of the Chinese Uyghurs ethnicity are currently active in Idlib. Most of these fighters are members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic (TIP), which occupies several towns and villages in the northwestern countryside of the governorate.
Over the last three years, several reports claimed that China is planning to intervene militarily in Syria in order to neutralize the threat of Uyghurs fighters. However, to this day the Chinese military has not taken any active steps in this direction.