(AA) – U.S. Central Command on Wednesday denied a report by Bloomberg View that claims the American commander leading the train and equip program for Syria opposition fighters would leave his post.
“Contrary to an article published by Bloomberg View today, Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata will continue to lead the U.S. Syria train and equip program and there is no effort underway to replace him,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
Any speculation to the contrary is inaccurate, it added.
But earlier in the day Bloomberg had a much different story. “Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, who has been leading the Syrian training program since last year, will leave his post as commander of Special Operations Command Central in May or June, having completed two years in the job,” the website said, citing a Pentagon spokeswoman.
The article also claimed Nagata would stay on the mission by maintaining his secondary title as Syria director for the Combined Joint Inter Agency Task Force.
Nagata has been working with partner countries on the train and equip program to identify and recruit moderate Syrian rebels.
The program, which Congress voted to finance last September with $500 million, will take place in Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon recently announced that Nagata’s team identified approximately 2,200 individuals to be vetted for the program.
While the agreement with Saudi Arabia and Qatar is still being worked out, the U.S. and Turkey signed an agreement Feb. 17 on the program in which as many as 1,000 U.S. troops will participate.