DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:10 P.M.) – On Friday, the United States officially declared the newly formed Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) a terrorist group in a written statement. The jihadist coalition consists of Jabhat al-Nusra and some opposition groups that formerly enjoyed US support, including Harakat Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki.
The US State Department stressed that the main leader of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham is Abu Mohammad Al-Julani, commander-in-chief of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), and therefore HTS should still be regarded as the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
This terrorist designation comes as a major blow to the armed Syrian Opposition as Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham is considered the single largest rebel faction in all of Syria.
Full statement in Arabic here: