Beirut-The United States upped pressure on Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, previously known as al-Nusra Front, by imposing sanctions on four of its leaders under regulations targeting people suspected by Washington of engaging in terrorist activity or supporting terrorist groups.
However, the list did not include the name of the front’s chief Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, knowing that blacklisting the organization in the U.S. in 2012 included its leader, according to informed sources.
In July, the al-Nusra Front leader changed the group’s name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and adopted a new logo and flag.
The State Department said the group remains an al-Qaeda affiliate despite the name change.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control said the sanctions were aimed at disrupting al-Nusra Front’s military, recruitment and financing activities.
The regulations bar U.S. citizens from engaging in business with people sanctioned by the office.
The Treasury’s actions were made in coordination with the U.S. State Department, which on Thursday named Jabhat Fatah al-Sham as an alias of al-Nusra Front.
The United States considers al-Nusra Front to be al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
The Treasury said in a statement it was imposing sanctions on four al-Nusra Front leaders: Abdallah Muhammad bin-Sulayman al-Muhaysini, a member of al-Nusra Front’s inner leadership circle who was involved in recruiting fighters for the group in northern Syria; Jamal Husayn Zayniyah, a Nusra Front leader who was responsible for planning operations in al Qalamun, Syria, and Lebanon; Abdul Jashari, a military adviser for al-Nusra Front in Syria who has helped raise funds for the families of fighters of the group; and Ashraf Ahmad Fari al Allak, a Nusra Front military commander in Dara Province, Syria.
Of the four identified militants, al-Muhaysini, who is originally from al-Qassim in Saudi Arabia and travelled to Syria in 2013, is most popular.