Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The State Department is to designate a group of extremist resistance fighters in Syria as a terrorist organization next week, according to unnamed U.S. officials.
The officials revealed that the department has been building its case against the Jabhat al-Nusra the past several months. Announcing that it is a foreign terrorist organization next week is timed before the Dec. 12 Friends of Syria meeting in Morocco.
The U.S. wants to support the new Syria opposition group fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad but not the extremists groups.
The al-Nusra front had declared opposition to the group formed in Doha, Qatar last month as it seeks to establish an Islamic Syrian state free from foreign influences.
The al-Nusra front fighters comprise about 9 percent of the rebel forces in Syria. The Free Syrian Army put the numbers at 6,000 to 10,000 and it is still growing because it is recruiting and many are attracted to join the group because of its aggressive and successful tactics.
There are 2,000 fighters in Aleppo, up to 3,000 in Idlib province, 2,000 in Deir al-Zor, and up to 1,000 in Damascus.
The al-Nusra fighters are considered highly effective with their experience in the war in Iraq and elsewhere. They also resort to suicide bombing and gun attacks while in disguised using military uniforms.
Analysts suspect that al-Nusra has links with the Al Qaeda in Iraq for copying the suicide bombing technique of that group.