China all set to join Russian offensive vs. Islamist, other anti-Assad forces in Syria

China's aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises back to port after a sea trial in Dalian, China. The warship was reported to have been deployed in the Mediterranean in preparation for a possible Chinese military role in the Russian offensive against opposition forces in Syria.(Wikipedia)

Beijing is reportedly preparing to team up with Moscow to bolster the Russian military offensive in war-torn Syria against opposition forces, including the Islamic State jihadist group and Syrian rebels, seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The reports about China joining the fight against ISIS and other opposition groups in Syria emanated from the Middle East last week when Beijing issued a statement about the need for a strong coordinated response to the rising global terrorist threat. China's navy vessels, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, have reportedly been spotted somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea apparently preparing for action in Syria.

"The world cannot afford to stand by and look on with folded arms, but must also not arbitrarily interfere,'' said China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi who has spoken about the Syrian crisis at the UN Security Council session in New York.

He said nations should stand united against "violent extremist ideology," according to the Express.

When Russia's Caspian Sea fleet was busy launching precision-guided cruise missiles in the war-torn country recently, the WND news website reported that Chinese naval vessels "continued to loom menacingly in the background, maintaining its presence in the Mediterranean Sea."

"It is known that China has joined our military operation in Syria. The Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean Sea," a Syrian official told WND.

The official also reportedly said that another option being discussed is for the Russian government to publicly request China's military support.

The reports have yet to be confirmed by China.

Russia and China, although geographically apart, have been reported to have expressed "similar positions" on many domestic and international issues, said the Express.

China recently joined Russia in vetoing UN proposals against Bashar al-Assad, which are likely to prevent him from being referred by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court.

The Express also noted that China has been angered by ISIS militants who released a photo last month of what they claimed was a Chinese citizen allegedly under the militants' custody. The ISIS demanded a ransom from the Chinese government for his freedom.

Beijing earlier claimed that members of the Uighur militant group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, have been training with extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Chinese officials also say they face a severe threat of terror attacks in Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in clashes over the past three years, according to the Express.

ISIS has also reportedly spoken of its desire to increase its presence in China. Last month a document from ISIS revealed that China is included in a list of nations it wants to seize by 2020.