China will not join anti-terrorism operations in Syria, but Damascus had asked Beijing for military support against the Uyghur-dominated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) that’s occupying large parts of Idlib, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in an interview with the al-Mayadeen TV on June 19.
“We told our friends in China, provide us the tools and we are able to face this organization,” al-Muallem said in the interview, and explained: “military, economic and even cultural [tools].”
The Syrian foreign minister also revealed that thousands of TIP terrorists had brought their families with them from China, through Turkey.
The TIP is one of the biggest al-Qaeda branches in Syria with more than 3,000 Chinese Uyghurs fighters. The terrorist group is occupying many settlements in northern Lattakia and northwestern Idlib, including the strategic city of Jisr al-Shughur.
Al-Muallem arrived in Beijing on June 16 in a rare visit, that’s set to end on June 21. During the visit, the Syrian minister met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and many other senior officials.
In the last four years, many reports claimed that China was planning to provide Syria with military aid, or even directly intervene in the war-torn country to counter the TIP’s threat. While all of these reports were “debunked,” al-Muallem’s recent visit suggests that Beijing may provide soome support to Damascus’ anti-terrorism efforts.