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China expresses concern of 'dangerous' Islamic State resurgence

IS was driven out from most of its strongholds but still poses a threat [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 August, 2019

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Thousands of Chinese citizens are fighting in Syria alongside Jihadist groups

China has issued a stark warning that the world's most feared terrorist organisation is about to make a comeback despite its recent defeats in Syria and Iraq.

On Tuesday, China's envoy said there was a danger of Islamic State forces reviving in Syria, urging efforts be stepped up to secure a political settlement in the war-torn country.

"There is now a danger of terrorist organisations like ISIS being revived, we see some signs," Chinese Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan told reporters after talks in Geneva, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

In the remarks carried by Reuters, he added: "The fight against terrorism needs to be finished".

China provides political and logistical support the regime of Bashar al-Assad but unlike ally Russia, it has refrained from direct military intervention.

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However, thousands of Chinese Muslim citizens from the persecuted Uighur ethnic minority are thought to be among the foreign fighters battling alongside anti-regime rebels and jihadists in Syria.

The Syria war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by Assad, responded with military force to 2011 peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Recent efforts at resolving the conflict have produced little result, but Russia, Turkey and Iran who back separate sides in Syria agreed to establish de-escalation zones across the country and are pressing ahead with a plan to draft a new Syrian constitution to end the war.

An ongoing regime offensive in rebel-held Idlib however has put the de-escalation process at risk and threatens to cause a new humanitarian crisis as thousands of civilians flee the fighting.

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