Egypt foreign ministry denies troops deployed in Syria

Egypt on Sunday denied Arab media reports claiming that it had a military presence in Syria, days after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed his support for the Syrian army.
“These claims only exist in the imagination of those who promote them,” the foreign ministry said in the statement.
On Thursday, the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir said that 18 Egyptian air force pilots had been deployed on a military base in the Syrian central province of Hama.
It added, however, that it was “unclear” whether they were taking part in any military operations.
Sisi, the former army chief who was elected president in 2014, expressed support for the Syrian military during an interview aired Tuesday with Portuguese broadcaster RTP.
“Our priority is to support national armies, for example in Libya to assert control over Libyan territories and deal with extremist elements. The same with Syria and Iraq,” he said, responding to a question on whether Egypt would contemplate a UN peacekeeping role in Syria.
Asked by the interviewer whether he meant the Syrian military, Sisi, who has overseen a warming of ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main he responded: “Yes.”
Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk made a surprise visit to Cairo in October and met Egyptian officials, in his first public foreign visit in five years.

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