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US blacklists Al Qaeda-linked Syria group

Posted on Dec 12, 10:27AM | IANS

The US Treasury Tuesday imposed sanctions on the jihadist Al Nusra Front in Syria, after the State Department blacklisted the group as a foreign terror outfit linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq, CNN reported.

The Treasury also slapped sanctions on two armed militia groups that operate under the control of the Syrian government -- Jaysh al-Sha'bi and Shabiha, it said.

Syrian opposition groups have voiced their opposition to the US move against the rebel fighters, suggesting that they are being targeted because they oppose a new anti-government coalition.

CNN said that in recent months, the radical Islamist Al Nusra Front has emerged as one of the most effective groups in the Syrian resistance.

But the US accuses the group of using the Syrian conflict to advance its own ideology.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Al Nusra Front had claimed nearly 600 attacks in the past year, including suicide bombings, in several cities and was responsible for the death of "numerous innocent Syrians".

The designation makes it illegal for any US citizen to give "material support or resources" to Al Nusra fighters, including money, training and weapons.