A new aid deal between China and Syria that will include the delivery of communications equipment to Damascus has set off “alarm bells” within the Israeli security establishment, according to a report by news site Breaking Defense.
Israeli sources told the outlet that while the exact nature of the Chinese products remains known, they are expected to “fill current gaps in Syria’s military communications network.”
One source said that Israel has indications that Chinese experts in recent months visited Syrian military installations that were damaged heavily during the civil war.
“We believe that many [facilities] of the Syrian army will be rebuilt by the Chinese, who have the capability of bringing in thousands of workers to complete the work in the shortest time,” the source was quoted as saying in the report.
While Chinese state media outlet Xinhua said the assistance was meant to “improve local network infrastructure, especially in those areas hit hard during the Syrian crisis since 2011,” Israeli officials reportedly fear the equipment will be used to enhance Damascus’s intelligence capabilities.
China has donated tens of millions of dollars in aid to war-torn Syria over the past decade.