In the run-up to the major G20 meeting to be held on September 4th and 5th in in Hangzhou, China has made a major public announcement about its role in the Syrian conflict.
On Sunday August 15th, 2016 in Damascus, the Syrian defense minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij held a meeting with the head of the Office of International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the PRC, Rear Admiral Guan Youfei.
An agreement has been reached in relation to the Syrian conflict. China’s military will significantly increase its role in the Syrian conflict, by upgrading the role of special advisers and adding military trainers for the Syrian personnel, and increasing their numbers.
China will also begin to directly supply the Syrian Arab Army with material needs, and also increase its humanitarian assistance. Presently, hundreds of Chinese military advisers are involved in the Syrian conflict.
While the specific details of the mission that these advisers are involved in is an internal matter which has not been publicly disclosed, the role of advisers in conflicts has come to be be understood as a type of active or combat military assistance.
Advisers are often experienced special forces type units who play the role as platoon leader, a rank equivalent to 1st or 2nd lieutenant. Like their Russian counterparts playing a similar role, this means – in practical terms – that the Chinese military has elements actively fighting in the Syrian conflict on the side of the SAA.
“China has always played an active role in the political solution of the Syrian problem, maintains that Syria protect its sovereignty and independence of China’s military and Syria, there are well-established communication, Chinese military intend to continue to strengthen cooperation and communication with the Syrian military.” said Guan Youfei, as quoted by the Xinhua news agency.
In turn Fahd Jassem al-Freij said, “The friendship between Damascus and Beijing has a long history, and we adhere to the close coordination in international affairs.” Syria’s defense minister also stressed that Damascus supports Beijing’s position on the South China Sea, and expresses its sincere gratitude to the government and military of China for helping the Syrian side.
“Syria is going along with China continuously and progressively develop relationships between the military of the two countries”, said Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
China has several legal and philosophical pretexts to enter into the fray. Chiefly, it has been invited by the Syrian government, and secondly, China is assisting in an anti-terrorism action resulting from Chinese Uyghurs fighting on the side of ISIS.