CHINESE TROOPS IN THE MIDEAST: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
China will be helping out the Syrian government in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) by sending “military advisers,” media reports have claimed.
“The Chinese will be arriving in the coming weeks,” a Syrian army official told the Lebanon-based news website Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi.
The report claims that a Chinese naval vessel is on its way to Syria with dozens of “military advisers” on board. They will reportedly be followed by troops.
The ship is said to have passed the Suez Canal in Egypt and be making its way through the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the website, the advisers will be joining Russian personnel in the Latakia region.
Meanwhile, an Israeli military news website, DEBKAfile, has cited military sources as saying that a Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning-CV-16, has already been spotted at the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. It was said to be accompanied by a guided missile cruiser.
The news comes after Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria agreed to establish a joint information center in Baghdad to coordinate their operations against Islamic State militants, according to sources.
“The main goal of the center will be gathering, processing and analyzing current information about the situation in the Middle East – primarily for fighting IS,” a military-diplomatic source told Russian news agencies on Saturday.