Chinese Jihadis' Rise in Syria Raises Concerns at Home

(AP-Washington Post) Bassem Mroue and Gerry Shih - Thousands of Chinese jihadi fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) have come to Syria. While many don't speak Arabic, they are battled-hardened and have been instrumental in ground offensives against President Assad's forces in the country's northern regions. The majority of Chinese jihadis are Muslims from the Turkic-speaking Uighur majority native to the Xinjiang region in China. Their growing role has resulted in increased cooperation between Syrian and Chinese intelligence agencies who fear those same jihadis could one day return home and cause trouble there. TIP considers China's Xinjiang to be East Turkistan. Abu Dardaa al-Shami, who fought alongside TIP fighters in Syria, said, "They are the lions of ground offensives." Their role is to infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death before a major ground offensive begins. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there are about 5,000 Chinese fighters in Syria, but Li Wei, a Chinese terrorism expert, said the number was about 300, who brought with them about 700 family members.

2017-04-25 00:00:00

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