The Syrian Islamist Militia Jabhat al-Nusra

(TIME) Rania Abouzeid - The U.S. designated Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization on Dec. 11, saying the Syrian Islamist militia was part of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Yet the group is one of the most effective fighting forces against President Assad. Abu Adnan, an official in Jabhat al-Nusra's leadership in the Aleppo area, responded that the group does not differ ideologically from other Syrian Salafi Islamist groups like Ahrar al-Sham and Liwa al-Tawhid. Jabhat al-Nusra is headed by Abu Mohammad al-Golani. The U.S. Treasury Department has slapped financial sanctions against two men it believes are senior leaders in the militia group: Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi and Anas Hasan Khattab. Recent media reports also mention Mustafa Abdel-Latif, also known as Abu Anas al-Sahaba, as the new "emir" or leader of Jabhat al-Nusra. A Jordanian national, al-Sahaba is the brother-in-law of the late al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. Jabhat al-Nusra was one of several groups that rejected the freshly anointed Western-backed Syrian National Coalition in November.

2012-12-27 00:00:00

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