The Obama administration has formally designated a rebel group fighting in Syria as a terrorist organization in hopes of marginalizing the Al Qaeda affiliate and reducing its chances of playing a major role in the country should the government fall.
Administration officials blacklisted Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, describing it as a wing of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans during the height of the Iraq war. The Nusra Front is one of dozens of rebel groups that have emerged in the Syrian conflict.
It remains to be seen what effect, if any, blacklisting Jabhat al-Nusra — also known as the Nusra Front — will have on the rebel militia, which has earned the trust and support of many Syrians battling the Assad regime. However, it does prevent the United States from supporting the group, or any others that work with the Nusra Front in the future, and U.S. officials hope it will dissuade others in the region from supporting the group as well.