WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (KUNA) -- The US designated Tuesday Syrian-based Al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), whereas the Department of Treasury also designated today Al-Nusrah Front leadership in Syria and militias supporting the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad regime.
State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement that the "consequences of adding Al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for AQI include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, Al-Nusrah Front, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of US persons." According to the statement, "since November 2011, Al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks in major city centers." It stressed that "through these attacks, Al-Nusrah has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes." "Extremism and terrorist ideology have no place in a post-Asad Syria, and all responsible Syrians should speak out against Al-Qaeda and other extremist elements. By opting for the use of force against its own people, the Asad regime has created the circumstances that attract the violent extremists of Al-Qaeda, who seek to exploit civil strife for their own purposes," the statement noted.
It affirmed that "the sooner the political transition to a post-Asad Syria begins, the better it will be for the Syrian people and the region." Meanwhile, the Department of Treasury designated today two senior leaders of Al-Nusrah Front indentified as Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah Al-Juburi and Anas Hasan Khattab "for acting on behalf" of AQI.
The Treasury said in a statement that "this designation was taken in coordination with the US Department of State action to list the Al-Nusrah Front as an alias of AQI." Also today, the Treasury sanctioned two armed militia groups that operate under the control of the Syrian government, Jaysh Al-Sha'bi and Shabiha, as well as two Shabiha commanders, pursuant to E.O. 13582, which blocks the property of the Syrian government.
"These actions represent continued US government efforts to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people as they seek to free themselves from the oppression of the Asad regime and to deny Al-Qaeda's attempts to subvert the Syrian opposition," the Treasury said.
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement in this regard that the US "will continue to aggressively pursue those who undermine the desires of the Syrian people to realize a representative government that does not employ violence against its own people.
" He added "we will target the pro-Assad militias just as we will the terrorists who falsely cloak themselves in the flag of the legitimate opposition." The Treasury Department also took action today against Jaysh Al-Sha'bi and the Shabiha, as "these militias have been instrumental in the Asad regime's campaign of terror and violence against the citizens of Syria." According to the Treasury, Jaysh Al-Sha'bi "was created, and continues to be maintained, with support from Iran and Hezballah and is modeled after the Iranian Basij militia, which has proven itself effective at using violence and intimidation to suppress political dissent within Iran." (end) si.bs KUNA 112031 Dec 12NNNN