- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2015

The White House expressed skepticism Thursday about reports that the Cuban military is cooperating with Syria in its brutal civil war.

“Let me just state unequivocally we’ve seen no evidence to indicate that those reports are true,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

A Miami-based research group said this week that Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, the head of Cuba’s armed forces, and a cadre of Cuban defense officials were dispatched to join Russia’s growing military operations in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Mr. Earnest said Russia “would relish the opportunity to add additional nations to their coalition, primarily because they’re sort of out there operating on their own.”

He said “the only people that Russia can get to work with them inside of 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.”

He added, “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.” The U.S-led coalition is battling the Islamic State, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

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