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China charges Turkey recruiting Uighur Muslims to join forces with Syrian rebels

Special to WorldTribune.com

LONDON — China has asserted that Muslim separatists joined the Sunni
revolt in Syria.

Free Syrian Army fighters fire at a pro-government forces base in Idlib. /Reuters

An official Chinese newspaper said fighters from the ethnic Turkish
Uighur minority were recruited to join Sunni rebels in Syria. The Global Times, based in Beijing, said at least two separatist groups linked to Al Qaida were coordinating the trip from China to Syria.

“After receiving orders from Al Qaida, terrorists from China came to
Syria to meet with jihadists already on the ground before forming groups on the front lines,” an unidentified Chinese official told the newspaper on Oct. 29.

The newspaper said Turkey was playing a role in recruiting and financing the Chinese fighters. Officials identified the Turkish groups as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and the East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association. Chinese separatists have called their short-lived countries East Turkistan.

Beijing has long urged Turkey to stop its support for the Uighur
minority. China has assessed that Muslim separatists were also recruited for
Al Qaida-aligned wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Global Times said the Chinese have been fighting in Syria since May
2012. The newspaper did not say how many of the Uighurs were recruited.

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