Will China join Russia's intervention in Syria?

Will China join Russia's intervention in Syria?
Multiple reports and sources allege that Beijing will deploy military resources to bolster Moscow's efforts in Syria.
2 min read
02 October, 2015
Russian ships have long found a friendly port in China [AFP]
Russian Senator Igor Morozov has appeared to confirm rumours that China was set to enter the Syrian conflict.

"It is known that China has joined our military operation in Syria; the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, [and an] aircraft carrier follows it," he said.

Lebanese political sources close to the Syrian regime and Hezbollah also told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Chinese fighters would "take part on Russian raids on Syria in a matter of days".

"China's aircraft carrier is docked in the Mediterranean with Chinese soldier on board," said our source, adding that the decision might be due to the alleged presence of Chinese rebels with the "Turkistan Islamic Party", already fighting in Syria.
     It is known that China has joined our military operation in Syria; the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean
- Igor Morozov

The Chinese air raids could provide cover for ground movements of Russian troops.

The latest reports follow Russian airstrikes against sites in Syria. While Moscow claimed that the Islamic State group was targeted, Syrian opposition figures stressed that the raids killed a number of civilians, targeting positions held by the opposition.

The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, stressed in the UN Security Council not to interfere in Syria "arbitrarily", repeating Beijing's call for a political solution.

China has been largely supportive of the Assad regime since the outbreak of the uprising, although it has also hosted opposition figures and has close ties with Saudi Arabia, a main backer of rebel forces in Syria.

In May, Russian and Chinese ships took part in their first joint military exercises in Europe. At the end of September, Chinese cargo ships carrying military equipment passed through Suez canal.

Cargo ships have been sailing from China to Syria. The UCF 6, sailing under the Moldovan flag, departed from Shanghai at the end of Feburary and his since docked in Syria at Tartous, home to a Russian naval base. The ship is believed to be owned by the Moscow-based United Cargo Fleet.

Many analysts doubt the reports of Chinese involvement, with some Syrian dissidents initially saying the reports were propaganda aimed at making Assad's position appear stronger.

China has joined with Russia in vetoing three UN resolutions on Syria, justifying its vote due to the "uneven nature" of the proposals.