Cairo has denied having a military presence in Syria. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday, refuting claims of a report by Lebanese newspaper As-Safir. As-Safir reported on Thursday that 18 Egyptian air force pilots had been deployed on a military base in the Syrian central province of Hama. Several days ago, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had expressed his support for the Syrian army. The former army chief said the priority is to support national armies assert control over territories and deal with extremist elements in Syria, Libya, and Iraq.