Chinese state media say a top military officer visited Syria this week in a show of support for President Bashar Assad's embattled regime.

The official Xinhua News Agency says Rear Adm. Guan Youfei met on Monday with Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij in Damascus. It said he also met the same day with a Russian general who is coordinating his country's military assistance to Assad's fight against armed opposition groups.

Xinhua said Guan expressed China's willingness to boost military cooperation.

Guan is head of the Office for International Military Cooperation under the Central Military Commission that oversees China's 2.3 million-member armed forces.

While China has echoed Russia's approach in backing Assad, it hasn't directly contributed forces in keeping with its policy of opposing outside intervention in domestic conflicts.