We have today laid an order under section 3(6) of the Terrorism Act 2000 which, with effect from tomorrow, will specify “Jabhat Fatah al-Sham” as an alias of the proscribed organisation known as Al Qaeda.
Jabhat Fatah al-Sham have previously operated under the name the Al Nusrah Front. Al Qaeda was proscribed in March 2001 and the Al Nusrah Front was recognised as an alias of the group by a name change order in July 2013.
We are clear that terrorist groups should not be able to claim a false legitimacy whilst continuing with their terrorist activities, by simply operating under an alternative name.
Despite the rebranding of the group, we continue to assess that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is a violent terrorist organisation that retains strong links to AQ and promotes a global extremist ideology. We have no evidence to suggest that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham has changed its methods, aims or ideology.
The effect of this order is to put it beyond any doubt that being a member of or supporting any group operating under this name will be a criminal offence, contrary to sections 11 and 12 of the Terrorism Act.