State Department Terrorist Designation of Jund al-Aqsa
The Department of State has designated Jund al-Aqsa (JAA) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined 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. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which JAA has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with JAA.
Jund al-Aqsa is a terrorist group in Northern Syria that primarily operates in Idlib and Hama provinces. Formed in 2012 as a subunit of al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusrah Front (ANF) – a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group – JAA has since split and now carries out operations independently. However, despite the split it is still openly aligned with ANF. In March 2015, JAA launched two suicide bombings at checkpoints on the outskirts of Idlib. JAA also carried out the February 2014 massacre in the village of Maan in central Hama province, killing 40 civilians.
The imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is a powerful tool. Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Jund al-Aqsa is actively engaged in terrorism. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.
A list of U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations and SDGTs is available here: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/index.htm.