A senior official in Havana “categorically” rejected a claim by Fox News that Cuban troops were in Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Citing an unnamed U.S. official as source, the right-wing U.S. media outlet said Wednesday that up to 300 Cuban soldiers were sent to Syria.
On Saturday Gerardo Penalver Portal, the head of bilateral affairs at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Cuba “refutes and categorically denies the irresponsible and unfounded information on the alleged presence of Cuban troops in Syria, which some media have echoed.”
Despite the lack of evidence to confirm the claims, the speculation led to numerous articles published in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Fox News also cited the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, who also reported an “unconfirmed report” from an “unspecified source” saying that Cuban troops had been detected in Syria.
However White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that the U.S. government had no evidence to indicate that the Fox reports were true.
Cuba has had ties with Syria for decades, despite a cooling of relations when Syria fought Palestinian forces in Lebanon in the mid-1970’s.
October 18, 2015
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