No Plan to Send Military Forces to Syria
China yesterday said it had no plans to send its military to Syria to fight with Russian forces after reports in overseas media that it was planning to do so.
Chinese media has picked up Russian and Middle Eastern news reports that China would fight alongside Russia in Syria, and that China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, could participate too. Chinese media has also described these reports as speculative nonsense.
“As far as I know there are no such plans,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing, when asked if China had or would send forces to Syria.
Russia last month began air strikes on targets in Syria in a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in the civil war. Meanwhile, a delegation of Iranian lawmakers arrived in Damascus yesterday in the build-up to a joint operation against insurgents in northwest Syria, and said US-led efforts to fight rebels had failed.
The visit, led by the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, came as Iranian troops prepared to bolster a Syrian army offensive that two senior officials told Reuters would target rebels in Aleppo.
The attack, which the officials said would be backed by Russian air strikes, underlined the growing involvement in the civil war of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s two main allies. Iran has sent thousands of troops into Syria in recent days to bolster the planned ground offensive in Aleppo, the two officials told Reuters.