Jihad Intel: Vital Intelligence on Designated Islamic Terrorist Organizations

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Database: Identifiers of Designated Islamic Terrorist Organizations

Jabhat al-Nusra

Designated as terrorist by: Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States

Base of operations: Syria

Background: National Counterterrorism Center
Background: Mapping Militant Organizations (Stanford)

Composed largely of Syrian nationals and commonly referred to as al-Nusra Front ('Support Front'), Jabhat al-Nusra wass an al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group active in the Syrian civil war. Vowing to topple President Bashar al-Assad and install a new regime operating under Shari'a, Jabhat al-Nusra employed both guerilla warfare tactics and suicide bombings against Syrian government forces. The organization had a history of links with what became Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but rejecting then ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's insistence on subsuming Jabhat al-Nusra under his authority, public allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was 'reaffirmed' directly in April 2013. Citizens of Western countries have fought in the ranks of Jabhat al-Nusra and may pose a security risk if and when they return home. Its media wing was al-Manara al-Baida ("White Minaret").

Despite losing all its assets in eastern Syria to ISIL by July 2014, Jabhat al-Nusra survived and became the leading group in Idlib province in northwest Syria alongside Syrian Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham after the formation of the Jaysh al-Fatah coalition in spring 2015.

Jabhat al-Nusra was subsequently dissolved on 28 July 2016 with a formal renunciation of ties to al-Qaeda in a strategic move guided by al-Qaeda in order to embed the group more deeply in the Syrian insurgency and form a broader coalition to realize al-Qaeda's objectives in Syria. The successor organization is Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.

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Jabhat al-Nusra Emblem
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Jabhat al-Nusra: White Minaret
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Jabhat al-Nusra: White Minaret in Russian
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Shumukh al-Islam Forum Graphic

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