US blacklists Syria rebel group linked to al-Qaeda
MICHAEL R GORDON & ANNE BARNARD
The US has formally designated al-Nusra Front, the militant Syrian rebel group, as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The move is aimed at building Western support for the rebellion against the government of President Assad by quelling fears that money and arms meant for the rebels would flow to a jihadi group.
The designation was disclosed Monday in Federal Register, just before a diplomatic meeting Wednesday in Morocco on the political transition if Assad is driven from power. The notice in the register lists the al-Nusra Front as one of the "aliases" of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The al-Nusra Front comprises only a small minority of the Syrian rebels, but it includes some of the rebellion's most battle-hardened and effective fighters.