State Department Terrorist Designation of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade
The Department of State has designated the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade (YMB) as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign entities 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 the YMB has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the YMB.
The YMB was formed in August 2012 in Deraa, Syria and has staged attacks throughout southern Syria, particularly along the Israeli and Jordanian borders. It distinguished itself from other groups in Syria through kidnapping operations targeting UN personnel, including the March 2013 abduction of 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers and the May 2013 capture of another four Filipino peacekeepers from the Golan Heights. The group cooperated closely with al-Nusrah Front through 2014, but the YMB has since pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
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 YMB 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.