News / Middle East

US Labels Syrian Jihadist Group as Terrorists

U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen talks to the media during a press conference in Rome, October 3, 2012.U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen talks to the media during a press conference in Rome, October 3, 2012.
x
U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen talks to the media during a press conference in Rome, October 3, 2012.
U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen talks to the media during a press conference in Rome, October 3, 2012.
VOA News
The United States has declared a Syrian Jihadist force as a terrorist organization, while Western powers gathered in Morocco to push international support for Syria's new opposition coalition.

The State Department designated Jabhat al-Nusra as a terror group on Tuesday, saying that it serves as an alias of al-Qaida in Iraq as it attempts to infiltrate the Syrian conflict.

The U.S. State Department says Jabhat al-Nusra:

  • Claimed more than 600 attacks since November 2011
  • Carried out operations in major Syrian city centers
  • Killed numerous innocent Syrians
  • Sought to portray itself as part of the Syrian opposition
  • Is controlled by al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Du'a
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned two senior leaders of the al-Nusra front for acting on behalf of al-Qaida in Iraq. The department also announced sanctions against two armed militia groups that back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, said the United States "will target the pro-Assad militias" just as it targets "the terrorists who falsely cloak themselves in the flag of the legitimate opposition."  

Listing an entity as a terror organization bars Americans from doing business with the group.

Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Syria.

Friends of Syria meeting

Officials from European Union nations and the United States will gather Wednesday in Morocco for a Friends of Syria meeting aimed at supporting the rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not taking part in the meeting, after canceling her Middle East trip because of an illness.

France, Britain and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have recognized the opposition coalition as the representative of the Syrian people.  Despite broad support for the ouster of Assad, the United States and some European nations have been hesitant to fully recognize the coalition.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed hope Monday that more nations will back the coalition, after EU foreign ministers held talks with new Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib.

Russia is not taking part in the talks Wednesday.  Moscow objects to any outside interference in a Syrian transition process, saying any decisions about political reforms should be made by Syrians themselves.

Chemical weapons

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says there is no new indication of any "aggressive steps" by the Syrian government to use chemical weapons.

"We continue to monitor it very closely, and we continue to make clear to them that they should not under any means make use of these chemical weapons against their own population, that that would produce serious consequences," Panetta said.

Panetta's comments Tuesday follow earlier warnings from U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders that a chemical weapons attack would draw a response against Syria.

Refugees

Also Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency said the number of Syrian refugees registered or waiting to be registered now stands at more than 500,000.  The agency said that includes the latest count from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, turkey and North Africa.

Fighting between rebels and government forces has already claimed more than 40,000 lives, with no let-up in sight.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: M from: USA
December 11, 2012 1:08 PM
So is it ok to use the word "terrorist" again? Lol...

by: Anonymous
December 11, 2012 12:14 PM
You know I don't like terrorists just like anyone else. BUT I am glad as hell some people are helping the Syrian people whatever groups they belong to. The Syrians are being slaughtered by Assad, the Syrians need as much help as they can get from anyone they can get it from. Assad needs to go, better yet face justice. On the battleground these groups are providing much more than anyone else is, in regards to military power.

by: Anonymous
December 11, 2012 9:23 AM
The rest of the "rebels" are in support of the AlNursa terrorists. But the US supports them. LOL Blindness, madam Clinton, No?
In Response

by: SJJolly from: La Mesa, California
December 11, 2012 12:02 PM
Maybe the Syrian rebels prefer to support those most effective again Assad's forces than to worry about what we in the USA think about those leading groups?

by: musawi melake from: -
December 11, 2012 5:26 AM
It's a good decission, though too late to have any impact. It should also mean that the other Groups that collaborate With this outfit should be forced to stay away from thm or punish by designating them aslo. In this case, if the Assad-regime falls at some point in time, there'd none for the US to deal With.

On the Whole the West is going to see the opposite of what they hoped to get whn the orchstrated the so called Arab-spring using facebook People, in countries With significant Chinese Investments.

by: Walter Johnson
December 11, 2012 5:26 AM
Russia is at least partially right, but it is not taking into account that the new coalition is of Syrian groups and the only role the West will play is to try to stabilize a peace in Syria--not to determine the nation's ultimate government structure or constitution even though that was very successful in Japan in particular.

Russia may be concerned that all the arms and other purchases made by the Assad government will wind up not being paid for by Syria's eventual government since those arms and munitions were used against Syria's own people.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 11, 2012 12:19 PM
And because most of the Syrians that died, died from Russian weaponry and because of Russias choice to sip tea during the slaughter... The Russian Navy should be permanently kicked out of Syria after the fall. No pipeline, no navy. Hey Putin, suck it up buttercup...

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
December 11, 2012 5:12 AM
wrongs should not just be looked into after the war is over..america has to do away with bad gangs even if they are helping remove a bad assad.

lulasa...obamabarack
tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,vihiga,kenya.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More