U.N. Adds Syrian Jihadist Al-Nusra to Sanctions List

The United Nations Security Council on Friday added the Syrian militant group Al-Nusra Front to its global sanctions list because of its links to al-Qaida.

The group, a feared force battling President Bashar Assad, is now subject to an international asset freeze and arms embargo, according to an announcement made by the Security Council's al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

France and Britain jointly sought Al-Nusra's designation after blocking a demand by the Syrian government.

Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani last month pledged allegiance to al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, confirming suspicions of ties between the rebel group and the militant group founded by the late Osama bin Laden.

Experts have said Al-Nusra gets aid from al-Qaida's Iraqi affiliate and the Security Council announcement specifically mentions links to al-Qaida in Iraq.

The U.S. government designated Al-Nusra a terrorist organization last year and added al-Jawlani to its terrorist blacklist this month.

Western nations are acting against Al-Nusra in a bid to shore up moderate opponents of Assad. The 26-month old Syrian conflict has left more than 94,000 dead, according to Syrian activists.

France and Britain welcomed the Security Council move.

The designation "underlines the clear distinction that has to be made between the democratic opposition, which has our full support and which we want to strengthen, and the terrorist element that we condemn without ambiguity," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in Paris.

Source: Agence France Presse

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