Chinese authorities said on Monday “terrorists” who were trained in Syria had been behind recent violence in the far-western Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, with “about 100” Uighur youth said to have travelled to Aleppo to train alongside Syrian rebels.

“Their purpose is to overcome their fears, improve their fighting skills and gain experience in carrying out terror attacks,” an official involved in counterterrorism told the Communist Party-run Global Times. The newspaper cited the case of Memeti Aili (23), who was said to have travelled to Turkey and subsequently to Aleppo in Syria for training. He was recently arrested in Xinjiang.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it “has taken note there is closer collusion between the relevant forces and ETIM [East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group], which poses a threat to China’s stability”.

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