AFP 2013/ Peter Parks
21:57 01/07/2013

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - Islamic militants, battle-hardened
in Syria, were behind two terrorist attacks that left dozens dead
in a northwest Chinese province, in which separatists have wanted
to establish a sovereign state of "East Turkestan," a Chinese news
agency reported Monday.

About a hundred militants associated with the group behind the attacks
went to Syria via Turkey to fight alongside rebel forces battling
the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, China's The Global Times
reported, citing an unnamed anti-terrorism official.

They went there "to overcome their fears, improve their fighting
skills and gain experience in carrying out terror attacks," the
official was quoted as saying.

The two terrorist attacks in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous
Region, claimed the lives of 35 people, including policemen and
civilians. The province, which borders Central Asia, is home to 10
million Muslim Uighurs.

The attacks came several days ahead of the fourth anniversary of
the July 5 riot in the provincial capital of Urumqi that saw Uighurs
pitted against ethnic Chinese in a deadly clash that left nearly 200
people killed.

China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and together
with Russia it has vetoed sanctions against the ruling regime in Syria.