Syria and China have signed a memorandum of understanding on a number of issues, bringing Damascus into the fold of Beijing's Silk Road initiative.
In a meeting at the Planning and International Cooperation Commission's building in the Syrian capital yesterday, the agreement was signed by the Head of the Planning and International Cooperation Commission, Fadi Al-Khalil and the Chinese Ambassador, Feng Biao.
Under China's global initiative named the "Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," the country aims to bring other nations into its hegemonic influence by creating partnerships with them and investing into their infrastructure and economies.
Since 2013, Beijing has already launched projects under the initiative in over 140 countries on four continents, with notable ones being Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Austria, Belarus, and most African nations.
With Syria now joining the initiative, the government of Bashar Al-Assad would now be able to access broader cooperation with China and other partner countries in the fields of trade, technology, transport, economy, the movement of individuals and several industries.
It could also potentially enable the Assad regime to more easily circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western nations, as the initiative would give it further access to networks in other countries with the backing of Beijing.
Last week, Assad called for the expansion of the 'Axis of Resistance,' the alliance of states and non-state actors which allegedly oppose the West, and many may see the memorandum of understanding signed between Syria and China as part of Assad's attempted manifestation of that aim.