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Syrian Military Delegation Visits Communist China, Reportedly Seeking Rockets

A Syrian military delegation arrived in Peking today, according to reports here from the New China News Agency against a background of unconfirmed reports from East European sources that the Syrians may try to get rockets and maintenance technicians from Communist China. According to the Communist news agency report, the Syrians were greeted with pledges of “firm support for the just struggle of the Arab people against United States -Israeli aggression.”

The Syrians, led by Syria’s first deputy defense Minister, Maj. Gen. Moustapha Tlass, were reported to have been invited by Chinese Army leaders. Most of the major weapons with which Syrian forces are equipped have come from the Soviet Union. A Beirut report said that Syria was turning to China, Russia’s arch-rival, because of Soviet unwillingness to provide new arms and demands by France for cash payment for arms.