(WASHINGTON) — Throughout the 21-month long conflict in Syria, the U.S. has expressed concerns about the wrong people possibly hijacking the revolution to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.
On Tuesday, the State Department made it clear that the al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front cannot be part of any new government once al-Assad is gone by blacklisting the group.
As it happens, the Al-Nusra Front is one of the more effective band of fighters seeking the removal of al-Assad but the U.S. is worried that its ultimate goal is turning Syria into a terrorist state.
Blacklisting the group both freezes it assets and prohibits any private U.S. dealings with Al-Nursa as well as helping to direct funds toward rebel groups seeking a democratic government.
In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that other nations providing support to al-Assad’s opponents must only assist “those opposition groups who truly have the best interest of Syria and Syrians in mind.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, Zayn Nabbi, Euan McKirdy and Angela Dewan, CNN
Samantha Beech, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN