Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: al-Nusrah Front

aka Jabhat al-Nusrah; Jabhet al-Nusrah; The Victory Front; al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant; al-Nusrah Front in Lebanon; Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad; Support Front for the People of the Levant

Description: Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on May 15, 2014, and is led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani aka al-Julani. It was formed in late 2011 when al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, sent al-Jawlani to Syria to organize terrorist cells in the region. In 2013, the group split from AQI and became an independent entity. ANF's stated goal is to oust Syria's Asad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state. The group currently controls a portion of Syrian territory from which it participates in the Syrian conflict.

Activities: ANF has been active in a number of operations against other factions in the Syrian Civil War. The group claimed responsibility for the Aleppo bombings in 2012, the al-Midan bombing in January 2012, a series of Damascus bombings in 2012, and the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed. In December 2013, ANF abducted 13 nuns from a Christian monastery in Maaloula and held them until March 9, 2014. In 2014, ANF also carried out multiple suicide bomb attacks and kidnappings, including the abduction of UN peacekeepers.

ANF continued fighting in Syria throughout 2015 – including participating in fighting against other opposition groups – and carried out a number of kidnappings against civilians. In March, ANF claimed an attack on the intelligence headquarters of Syria's air force in Aleppo, killing an estimated 20 members of the security force. In April, ANF reportedly kidnapped, and later released, approximately 300 Kurdish civilians from a checkpoint in Syria. In June, ANF claimed responsibility for the massacre of the Druze village Qalb Lawzeh in Idlib province, Syria, which killed 20. In July, it claimed responsibility for a July suicide bombing of an army outpost in Aleppo, which killed at least 25 soldiers and allied militia.

In June, ANF released a propaganda video celebrating the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Strength: Unknown

Location/Area of Operation: Syria.

Funding and External Aid: ANF receives funding from a variety of sources, such as kidnapping for ransom payments and donations from external Gulf-based donors.


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