(WASHINGTON) — The State Department has added the leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian opposition group al-Nusrah Front to the terror list, making him a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”
According to the agency, Muhammed al-Jawlani “was specifically tasked by al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI),” to carry out “the overthrow of the Syrian regime and the institution of Islamist shari’a law throughout the country.”
Under his leadership, al-Nusrah Front has carried out multiple suicide attacks throughout Syria, mainly in Damascus, killing innocent Syrian civilians.
Al-Nusrah was already a designated a terrorist group, but this announcement targets al-Jawlani specifically.
“The violent, sectarian vision of al-Jawlani’s al-Nusrah is at odds with the aspirations of the Syrian people, including the overwhelming majority of the Syrian opposition, who seek a free, democratic, and inclusive Syria and have made clear their desire for a government that respects and advances national unity, dignity, human rights, and equal protection under the law – regardless of faith, ethnicity, or gender,” the State Department said Thursday in a statement.
Additionally, the Department of Treasury has also designated four Assad Regime Senior officials, Syrian Arab Airlines and the privately-owned Addounia Television Station as sponsors of State terror, subject to sanctions.
Making clear that all U.S. citizens are prohibited from “engaging in transactions” with al-Jawlani, the State Department condemned terrorist ideology and urged Syrians to speak out against the terror leader and al Qaeda affiliations.
“Extremism and terrorist ideology have no place in a post-Assad Syria, and all responsible Syrians should speak out against al-Qa’ida and other extremist elements,” the State Department said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy, CNN
Arwa Damon, Waffa Munayyer and Bryony Jones, CNN
Roshni Majumdar, CNN
Dave Gilbert, CNN