On November 5, the Syrian Arab News Agency announced that President Bashar al-Assad had called President Xi Jinping of China.

In a press release, the state-run agency said that the two leaders s discussed the close bilateral relations between their countries and means of expanding mutual cooperation during the rare phone call.

“President al-Assad stressed Syria’s keenness to develop ties between the government institutions in both countries, particularly with the improvement of security situation in most regions, and at the same time, accessing the Belt and Road Initiative, which constitutes a road for economy and development,” the press release reads.

The Syrian President also thanked President Xi for the large humanitarian assistance that China offered to the Syrian people to alleviate their suffering over the last few years.

Assad also reaffirmed that Syria is “determined to liberate all its lands from terrorists and the occupied foreign armies,” as well as “to push the process of dialogue among political parties forwards without any external interference until reaching full stability.”

Furthermore, the President congratulated his Chinese counterpart on the 50th anniversary of China’s restoration to its legitimate seat at the United Nations and stressed Syria’s support to China in the face of western campaigns which attempt to strike stability in Asia southeastern region and China South Sea.

From his side, President Xi said China attaches great importance to the development of China-Syria relations and is willing to work with the Syrian side to promote greater achievements in bilateral friendly cooperation.

“We welcome the Syrian side’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Development Initiative,” said Xi, according to CGTN.

The Chinese President also expressed his country’s readiness to work with Syria to promote the common values of humanity and facilitate dialogue between civilizations.

The Chinese-Syrian relations saw much progress this year. In July, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on a pre-planned visit. Yi was the most senior Chinese official to visit Syria since the outbreak of the war in the country in 2011.

Recent reports in the Arab media claimed that China had been providing military support for the Syrian Arab Army against Uyghurs terrorists in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.

While China’s support to Damascus appears to be growing, the recent reports of military support by Beijing remains unconfirmed.