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China's envoy describes Syria as important partner, hopes for enhanced cooperation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
China’s Ambassador to Syria, Feng Biao, speaks in an exclusive interview with Syria’s official news agency SANA in Damascus, Syria, on October 1, 2020.

The Chinese ambassador to Damascus has described Syria as a strategic and important partner for his country, saying that Beijing is interested in further development of political, economic and trade ties with the Arab nation.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Syria’s official news agency SANA on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Thursday, Feng Biao underlined that China will continue to extend aid to Syria and will play a constructive and positive role to work out a solution to the Syrian conflict and is resolute to enhance cooperation with Syria within China’s massive global economic effort, dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Chinese envoy later pointed to the areas of mutual concern between Beijing and Damascus, stressing the need for further promotion of bilateral relations in the face of international challenges.

Feng noted that China supports a just settlement of the Syrian crisis, and has frequently underscored that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected.

He said China categorically rejects any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, and considers a comprehensive intra-Syrian political process as the sole solution to the ongoing foreign-backed conflict in the Arab country.

Feng also said China views Syria as an important partner in international relations, stating that the volume of commercial exchanges between the two countries stood at $1.31 billion last year, marking an increase of 3%.

The diplomat noted that his country backs Syria’s efforts to confront the novel coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing that Beijing has put public safety and healthcare at the top of its priorities.

US drone crashes in Syria’s Hasakah

Separately, an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to US military forces has crashed in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told SANA that the drone went down for unknown reasons as it was on a surveillance mission in the skies over al-Dirdara village near the town of Tall Tamr.

The sources added that American forces immediately cordoned off the site of the crash, collected the wreckage of the aircraft and transported it to one of their bases.

Back on August 18, the US lost two drones over Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib after a midair collision.

Images and videos of burning aircraft crashing to the ground were posted online at the time. There was speculation that the aircraft were MQ-9 Reapers — a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle used for both surveillance and armed missions.

An unnamed US official told Military Times back then that he could not confirm the type of drone involved.

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by Daesh. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Syria, which has not authorized the presence of the US military in its territory, says Washington is “plundering” the country’s oil.

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