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  #1  
Old 15 Oct 15, 18:40
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Top Cuban general, key forces in Syria to aid Assad, Russia, sources say

Cuban military operatives reportedly have been spotted in Syria, where sources believe they are advising President Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers and may be preparing to man Russian-made tanks to aid Damascus in fighting rebel forces backed by the U.S.

Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias, head of Cuba's Armed Forces, recently visited Syria to lead a group of Cuban military personnel joining forces with Russia in their support of Assad, according to information received by the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

On Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units are on the ground in Syria, citing evidence from intelligence reports. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Cuban troops may have been training in Russia and may have arrived in Syria on Russian planes.


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/10...s-say-sources/
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  #2  
Old 15 Oct 15, 21:19
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What year is it?
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Old 15 Oct 15, 22:11
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An unnamed official from an unnamed US government agency said, to someone from a Cuban-American think tank at the Uni of Miami, that Cuban Special Forces are going to be manning Syrian tanks.

Pardon me for being skeptical, but training a crew to man a tank up to any decent standards take a few months of training. Now tanks crews require a lot of mechanical aptitude, something I'll take for granted in the Cubans, seeing that they keep those 1950s Studebakers and such on the road. But a tank is a very different beast. Possible, but... probably?

I await further confirmation with baited breath.
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Old 15 Oct 15, 23:32
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Russians and Cubans together once more? It is Red Dawn all over again!
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Old 15 Oct 15, 23:59
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Old 16 Oct 15, 00:19
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Originally Posted by lirelou View Post
An unnamed official from an unnamed US government agency said, to someone from a Cuban-American think tank at the Uni of Miami, that Cuban Special Forces are going to be manning Syrian tanks.
What kind of "Special Forces" ever have any experience of any kind with tanks? SF all but means light infantry. I know those words get abused a lot but this is just silly.
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Old 16 Oct 15, 01:51
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I know nothing about the Cuban military, but since they were the USSR's allies I would presume them to have Soviet tanks, just like the Syrians, no?
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Old 16 Oct 15, 13:53
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They are 'special' to Fidel .
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Old 16 Oct 15, 15:23
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Good point. After all in some countries "special forces" just means the guys that don't look into the wrong end of their rifles or run at the first sight of an enemy.
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Old 16 Oct 15, 16:28
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Frisco17 - For most in the US Army, Special Forces are troops who have chosen that branch after previous service elsewhere in the Armed Forces. To take the example of Roger Donlon, who received the first Medal of Honor awarded for Vietnam, he first enlisted in the Air Force. I went from enlisted Special Forces to the Armor Officer Candidate course, then to light infantry, and then to an Armored Division where I commanded two companies in addition to being an Armor battalion and brigade logistics officer. Colonel Francis J. Kelly, one of the 5th SFG's commanders in Vietnam, was also Armor.

However, we were officers at a time when there was no special forces branch for officers. I might've met two former tankers in the Special Forces enlisted ranks in my career, so you are right. Tankers in SF are as rare as hen's teeth.

Acheron. The maximum age for serving in a tank crew in the Israeli Army is 33. After that they are considered too old in the reflex department. In 1989 I climbed into an M-1 tank and, frankly, was lost. I assume the Cubans had or have 1960s tanks at best. The Syrians may be better armed. Also, Cuba's environment limits the tank to a infantry support platform. Syria's environment and terrain would demand more if the opposition has tanks or highly sophisticated anti-tank systems.

Tank battalions are very expensive from a maintenance viewpoint. They can break a torsion bar just sitting in the tank park. If anyone had data on Cuban tanks, training, and maintenance, I'd be very happy to see it. You can run a light infantry division on what it costs to keep a single medium tank battalion going, which is why you generally see lightly armored wheeled and the rare tracked vehicles in Third World armored units.
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Old 16 Oct 15, 17:25
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Wikipedia lists 800 T54/55s, with 300 of those in storage. Some also converted to SP arty.
They also list 300 T62s and 50 PT76s.
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Old 16 Oct 15, 18:25
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We can see the tanks in this Pro Cuban military video,




Appears to be Russian made tanks^, I could be wrong though.


I would take the Cuban armed forces over ISIL. What do folks think, can Cubas armed forces (on its own) take on ISIL ?
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Old 17 Oct 15, 01:43
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The Cuban tanks are old, but so are many of the Syrian tanks. Cuba also has a small number of T-72s, whereas Syria had some 1,500 T-72s of a total tank fleet of 4,950 tanks when the war started. Only a small number of those tanks have been destroyed. Now, two countries having the same model number of tanks does not guarantee automatic inter-operability of crews, but it certainly reduces training familiarization time. There can be vast difference between target acquisition and sighting systems, as well as armor, between T-72s. Syria's are from the former USSR, as are Cuba's. But supposedly, Syria also has more men under arms at present than when the war started, at which time they had 325,000 in the Armed Forces, of which 2/3rds were Army. (Source: International Business Times article)

So one basic question remains unresolved: Why would Syria need to import Cuban tank crews if it, as it appears, is on the verge of wining this war due in no small part to the inaction of the United States? This report has not been on any major news channel other than Fox. It has not been mentioned by Matt Drudge, and the reports google brings up are mostly reiterations of the same linked in the OP.

Still sounds like RUMINT to me.
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Old 17 Oct 15, 01:56
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I would take the Cuban armed forces over ISIL. What do folks think, can Cubas armed forces (on its own) take on ISIL ?
I don't see any reason to rank Cuba's fighting spirit over ISIL's. If it were the Cubans on their own, I think ISIL would stand a good chance. But if your reporting is correct, and I don't believe it is, the Cubans would not be taking ISIL on on their own. They would have Russian and Syrian support, most likely close air support, and Russian Intel and Communications assistance. In other words, they would be fighting as part of a unified combined arms force. But again, given Syria's numbers, why would Cubans have to be there at all?
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Old 17 Oct 15, 02:44
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. But again, given Syria's numbers, why would Cubans have to be there at all?
Maybe an ex KGB person asked Cuba to get involved. During the Cold War Cuba did what the Soviets told them to do.

http://www.amazon.com/Cold-War-Congo.../dp/1412847664

http://militaryhistorynow.com/2014/1...-foreign-wars/
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