The U.S. has designated the al-Nursa Front, a group of foreign Islamists fighting against the Assad regime in Syria, as a terrorist organisation.
The al-Nursa Front has been designated a foreign terrorist group by the U.S. Al Jazeera reported officials in Washington stated the group was trying to hijack the Syrian uprising on behalf of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Al-Nursa comprises Islamic militants whose aim is to turn Syria into an Islamic state under sharia law. According to Al Arabiya the group is now the dominant fighting force amongst the various factions comprising the Syrian rebel opposition. The group also has access to funding and high quality weapons. Al Arabiya reported "A sign of its growing authority is that Al-Nusra Front often mediates in disputes between rebel groups."
The U.S. effectively blacklisted the terrorist group prior to President Obama recognizing the Syrian opposition coaltion. However, the move has not been well received by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB).
Al Arabiya reported Farouk Tayfour, deputy leader of SMB, branded the decision as wrong, saying: “The designation is very wrong and too hasty. I think it is too early to categorise people inside Syria this way, considering the chaos and the grey atmosphere in the country."
Al Jazeera reported Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, head of the Free Syrian Army, also condemned the U.S. decision, saying: "We reject this decision. Al-Nusra Front has never done anything illegal or worth condemning against a foreign country. They are fighting side by side with us."
However the al-Nursa Front is one of the 14 rebel groups in Syria that has not recognized the authority of the Syrian Opposition Coalition.