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China, Russia begin joint anti-terror exercises
July 4, 2016, 4:57 am

Chinese People's Armed Police Force soldiers stand in the formation during the joint anti-terror exercises in Moscow, Russia, on July 3, 2016 [Xinhua]

Chinese People’s Armed Police Force soldiers stand in the formation during the joint anti-terror exercises in Moscow, Russia, on July 3, 2016 [Xinhua]

Allies China and Russia have kicked off a series of large-scale joint anti-terror exercises in Moscow on Sunday.

The  Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (CAPF) and Russia’s newly-formed National Guard are participating in the special drills that are being held from July 3 to July 14 in Russia’s Moscow and Smolensk regions.

China’s Snow Leopard and Falcon commando units, as well as the Russian National Guard’s Vityaz unit, are participating in the exercises.

Xinhua quoted Liu Zhijun, deputy director of the CAPF’s Exercises Department as saying “this is the third time for the two countries’ interior forces to hold such exercises, which center on tactical skills in combating terrorism to boost practical cooperation between the forces of both sides”.

Participants from China and Russia will conduct a host of drills in a joint manner, with a view to exploring effective methods in joint anti-terror campaigns to boost their abilities in this regard, he added.

Sergei Chenchik, chief of staff of the Russian National Guard said Russia is ready to launch a new stage of cooperation with China and to carry out common tasks based on the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the creation of Russia’s National Guard in April this year in a bid to better fight terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking across the country.

Russia is helping Syrian armed forces in its fight against Islamic State militants in the war-torn region.

After repeated calls by Moscow for joint action, finally last week US officials said they are discussing ways of cooperating with Russia in the fight against ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda offshoot in Syria.

Moscow has said that the US-backed Syrian rebels must distance themselves from Al-Nusra to avoid being hit during airstrikes.

Terrorist groups Al Nusra Front and Islamic State are not part of the UN-backed ceasefire achieved in February.

Russian airstrikes and Syrian government offensive continues against the Islamic State group (IS) and Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front in the war-torn country.

The main opposition, the Syrian rebel group, along with the United States and other Western nations, has long insisted any peace deal must include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure from power, while the Syrian government and Russia have said there is no such clause in the international agreements that underwrite the peace process.

Russia and China, along with their BRICS partners, are opposed to the ouster of Assad.


TBP and Agencies