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China shows greater interest in Syria amid pandemic, US tensions

China is looking to increase its influence in war-torn Syria, and using the coronavirus pandemic to accelerate these plans.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) shakes hands of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R)  after a press conference at Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on June 18, 2019. Fred Dufour/Pool via REUTERS - RC1583F62660

China’s expanding presence in the Middle East places Syria as a strategic target for its desired sphere of influence, while tensions with the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic are now propelling its increased interest in the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has tried to court China, seeking Beijing’s help to legitimize his rule over the country and restore the damage from the nine-year-long conflict. It seems that Assad feels China would secure a viable post-war Syria under his auspices.

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