Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) holds talks with Syrian deputy prime minister and foreign minister Walid al-Moallem in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 24, 2015 (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)
Ryan Pickrell, National Interest: Why are 5,000 Chinese Fighting in Syria's Civil War?
An estimated 5,000 Chinese militants are fighting alongside various insurgency groups in Syria, according to the Syrian ambassador to China.
“Our estimated numbers, because of the numbers we fight against, we kill, we capture, we wound, would be around 4-5,000 Xinjiang jihadists,” Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to China, told Reuters, “China as well as every other country should be extremely concerned.”
The combatants are reportedly Uighurs, members of a Muslim minority that primarily resides in Xinjiang Province. While some are fighting for the Islamic State, the majority are fighting “under their own banner” for a separatist cause. Located in Northwest China, Xinjiang is restless and prone to violence. Conflicts between the Uighurs and the Han majority are sometimes attributed to the Chinese government’s heavy-handed approach to regional tensions. The government, however, blames unrest on extremism and violent separatist movements, such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.
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WNU Editor: Many of these Uighur fighters will be returning to China one day .... and it is going to be a problem.