BEIJING – China’s military will train Syrian armed forces, a spokesperson for Beijing’s defense ministry said on Thursday.

The training would take place on Chinese soil, added defense minister.

Last week senior Chinese military official Guan Youfei met with Syria’s defense minister in Damascus and said he wanted closer military ties with the Syrian government, state media reported.

“The Chinese military will provide the Syrian side with medical and nursing professional training,” defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian told reporters at a monthly briefing.
The training would take place in China, he added, and was intended “to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria.”

China has been a firm supporter of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which has engaged in a bloody war that has left more than 290,000 people dead and displaced millions since it began in 2011 with the brutal repression of antigovernment demonstrations.