The Chinese who fight in Syria are members of the Uyghur minority, a Sunni minority that speaks in a Turkish dialect and mainly resides in the Northwestern province of Xinjiang.
President Assad has said that Syrian and Chinese intelligence officials are working together to fight the Uyghurs in Syria, who entered through Turkey—and accused Turkey of the crisis.
A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China is ready to cooperate with relevant parties, including Syria, to combat the cross-border activities of the Uyghurs.
The Chinese have made great efforts to put a stop to the illegal departure of Uyghurs from the country, but despite the blocking of the shortest route through Pakistan, tens of thousands of Uyghurs have fled through the Southern border and crossed a winding route to reach Turkey, and thousands have opened their way into Syria.
In order to fund the trip, Uyghur families have sold their possessions in Xinjiang. Thanks to their Turkish origin, Turkey helps those who want to reach its territory—which creates tension between Ankara and Beijing.
In June 2013, the TIP (Turkistan Islamic Party) began distributing videos of its fighters in Syria, who called for jihad. The TIP is a separatist Uyghur organization operating mainly outside the borders of China, and the videos have led to a significant increase in the number of Uyghur fighters in the last four years.
3,000 Uyghurs are fighting in the ranks of al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda branch in Syria (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board), and several hundred fighters in the ISIL. China estimates the number of terrorists to be around 5,000. Many Uyghur families have settled in villages in Syria.
In the early years, China made a point of not choosing a side in the war in Syria, but in mid-2015, a change of direction was becoming evident. Chinese delegations, including military delegations, began arriving in Damascus to expand aid to Syria.
The Chinese terrorists are believed to have been seen and trained in large numbers in disparate regions of Idlib, including the strategic town of Jisr al-Shoqouur, Ariha, and the highlands of Jabal al-Zawiya.
Uyghur militants are known by others for keeping their arms even in bed. They are said to be among the most savage militants of Al-Qaeda now.