Syrian Opposition Group Designated a Terrorist Organization

Free Syrian Army rebels / AP
December 11, 2012

The State Department released a statement on Tuesday that designates the al-Nusrah Front as an alias for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The United States "has amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)"  to include the al-Nusrah Front, the statement said.

The consequences of adding al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for AQI include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.

The State Department pointed to deadly attacks, including suicide bombings, in Syria that have killed civilians as a main reason for placing al-Nusrah on the FTO list. These attacks show that al-Nusrah’s efforts in Syria are "an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes."

This move is part of a continued effort by the State Department to distance American non-lethal aid from any radical groups operating within Syria. The State Department is working toward a diplomatic peace agreement despite Syrian rebels accepting al-Nusrah as an ally  bringing fighting experience from Iraq and elsewhere, according to CNN.