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Ben Carson is defending an odd claim about China and Syria

Ben Carson is defending an odd claim about China and Syria

By Pamela Engel for Business Insider

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson made a vague statement about China being in Syria during the debate Tuesday night on Fox Business, confounding journalists and foreign-policy experts who cast a skeptical eye on the claim.

Carson's comment was in response to a question about President Barack Obama's decision to send 50 members of special-operations forces to Syria and to keep 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan past the end of his presidency.

The retired neurosurgeon said that having US special-ops forces in Syria is better than not having them there, and then noted that Syria is a "very complex place."

"You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there," Carson said.

Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group and author of the book "Superpower," said that while there has been unsubstantiated speculation recently about China and Syria, Chinese presence there has not been confirmed.

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