US imposes sanctions against Syrian-based radical group

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has imposed sanctions on a Syrian-based radical group formerly affiliated with al-Qaida, the State Department said Tuesday.

Jund al-Aqsa had once been part of the group that had been known as the Nusra Front, a splinter group of al-Qaida that later cut its ties with the extremist organization. Jund al-Aqsa primarily operates in the northern Syrian cities of Idlib and Hama.

The State Department said that Jund al-Aqsa was found to “have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.”

Nusra Front, which changed its name in July to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, has long been at odds with the Islamic State group, particularly with regard to attacks on fellow Muslims. Earlier this year, the Nusra Front attracted a coalition, waging a counteroffensive around the city of Aleppo, retaking ground from President Bashar Assad’s military and its allies and inflicting heavy casualties.

Jund al-Aqsa reportedly refused to join the coalition and is instead suspected of having sided with IS. But the State Department said it still remains aligned with the former Nusra Front, despite the split.

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