Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chinese military to provide ‘aid and training assistance’ to Syrian government

Training also part of agreement reached on the weekend as Beijing gradually steps up its direct involvement in the Middle East

Liu Zhen

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Tuesday, 16 August, 2016

The Chinese military will provide aid and training to the Syrian government under a deal reached between a Beijing envoy and Syria’s defence minister in Damascus on Sunday.  It is another step in Beijing’s engagement in the Middle East after China named Xie Xiao­yan, former ambassador to Iran, as its special envoy to Syria in March.  The Chinese military delegation to Syria – headed by Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, director of international cooperation at the Central Military Commission – met Syrian Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Lieutenant General Fahd Jasim al-Furayj, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.  “They reached consensus on improving personnel training, and the Chinese military offering humanitarian aid to Syria,” the report said without elaborating.  Guan said the Chinese military was willing to continue exchanges and cooperation with the Syrian military.  Guan also met Lieutenant General Sergei Chvarkov, chief of Russia’s reconciliation centre in Syria, on Monday.