Britain bans Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on terrorism grounds

The British government says that it has banned Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, a move which makes membership in the extremist rebel group a criminal offense.

Britain's Home Office says the Nusra Front, also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, had been added to its list of outlawed organizations, a U.K.-wide roster of foreign and domestic terror groups.

The government said Friday that it considered the Nusra Front and Jabhat al-Nusra nothing more than alternative names for al-Qaida, which has long been outlawed. The ban takes effect immediately.

Many Western governments have expressed concern that the Syrian conflict is serving as an incubator for Islamist terror.

Last week senior British lawmakers warned that jihadists in Syria "currently represent the most worrying emerging terrorist threat to the U.K. and the West."