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‘No evidence’ of Cuban troops fighting in Syria, insists White House

The White House has insisted that there is “no evidence” that Cuba has sent troops to fight with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. “We’ve seen no evidence to indicate that those reports are true,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday when asked about the reports during the daily press briefing.

A Miami-based research group said this week that the head of Cuba’s armed forces, General Leopoldo Cintra Frias, and a cadre of Cuban defence officials were dispatched to join Russia in its military operations in Syria. According to Earnest, Russia “would relish the opportunity to add additional nations to their coalition, primarily because they’re sort of out there operating on their own.” However, he added that the only people that Russia can get to work with them inside Syria is a “largely neutered Syrian government and… essentially an Iranian government and Iranian security forces that, while effective, have few, if any, other allies that they’re able to work with around the globe.”

Earnest boasted that the coalition built by Obama to fight Daesh in the region is much stronger. “The United States is leading an international coalition of 65 countries, including some of the other most powerful countries in the world that have made a substantial military commitment to this effort.”

On Wednesday, Washington announced that it had refused to receive a Russian military delegation, headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss coordinated action on the fight against Daesh in Syria. “We’re not interested in doing that, as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-[Daesh] effort,” said Earnest.

“Russia has its own agenda,” he added. “It’s not particularly surprising to me that President Putin would resort, in some desperation, to try to send the second-highest ranking official in the Russian government to the United States to try to convince us to join them.”

Russia began airstrikes against Syrian cities last month, claiming that they were targeting Daesh strongholds. The US, however, claims that 90 per cent of the targets had nothing to do with the extremist group.

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