Cuban Troops Helping Out Russia in Syria?
Cuban troops appear to be on the ground in Syria, according to the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.
A U.S. official also confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units are on the ground in the war-torn country.
Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, head of the Cuban Armed Forces, visited Syria recently and led a military personnel group to support Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Russian forces in the country, ICCAS reported.
The Miami-based institute believes the Cuban soldiers will operate Russian tanks in order to fight the Islamic State and other Assad opponents.
Cuban military forces have served overseas in support of Russian objectives before this current conflict. In the 1970s Cuba sent several hundred thousand troops to Angola and other African countries alongside Soviet weapons to support African leaders attempting to gain power.
In 1973, Cuba sent troops to Syria to aid in the Yom Kippur war against Israel.
The Institute believes Cuba's move in Syria shows its alignment with Russia over the United States.
"If this information about the presence of Cuban troops in Syria now is confirmed, it would indicate that Gen. Raul Castro is more interested in supporting his allies, Russia and Syria, than in continuing to normalize relations with the U.S.," ICCAS said.