US adds Islamic State ally in Syria to terror blacklist

US adds Islamic State ally in Syria to terror blacklist

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday declared a Syrian militant group known as the Yarmuk Martyr’s Brigade a global terrorist threat.

The YMB operates on war-torn Syria’s borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and is accused of kidnapping UN peacekeepers.

“The YMB was formed in August 2012 in Deraa, Syria and has staged attacks throughout southern Syria,” the US State Department said.

In 2014 it was tied to Al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot, the Al-Nusra Front, but it has since reportedly pledged itself to the rival Islamic State group.

Now, the group has also joined Al-Nusra and the IS on the US government’s list of what it calls Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities.

“As a result of this designation, all property subject to US jurisdiction in which the YMB has any interest is blocked,” the statement said.

“And US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the YMB.”

According to the designation, the YMB was responsible for at least two mass kidnappings of Filipino UN peacekeepers in the Golan in 2013.

The troops were later released after negotiations.