Report: Thousands of Chinese Muslims Filling Ranks of Jihadist Fighting Units in Syria
Thousands of Uyghurs, a Sunni Muslim Chinese minority, are fighting among the ranks of jihadist groups in Syria according to a report by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The Uyghurs, who are found in China’s northwest province of Xinjiang, traveled from China to Turkey where they entered Syria. Illustrating the adage that “an enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the Israeli report concludes that China is being driven into close relationships with Russia, Iran and Syria because it wants to see the Uyghur jihadists eliminated on Syrian soil so they won’t return to China. A primary concern of the Chinese is that like ISIS, the Uyghurs will begin to target Chinese assets located around the world. The new dynamic has opened Syria to the Chinese, who according to the report, are entering Syria in advisory capacities in anticipation of involvement in the country’s reconstruction when the six-year old civil war finally ends. According to the Israelis, Uyghur fighters are integrated into both the Al-Qa’ida franchise in Syria and the Islamic State units.