China, aiding Assad

China’s military will provide training for Syrian armed forces, a spokesman for Beijing’s defence ministry said Thursday, adding it would take place on Chinese soil. Beijing is a longstanding backer of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which has engaged in a bloody war that has left more than 290,000 people dead and displaced millions since it began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations. Last week senior Chinese military official Guan Youfei met with Syria’s defence minister in Damascus and said he wanted closer military ties with the Syrian government, state media reported. “The Chinese military will provide the Syrian side with medical and nursing professional training,” defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters at a monthly briefing.

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