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Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahl ash-Shām, "Front of Defence for the People of Greater Syria"), is an Al Qaida associate operating in Syria. The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012 during the Syrian civil war. It is described as "the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force". as a terrorist organisation and by the United States in December 2012. In April 2013, the leader of the Islamic state of Iraq released an audio statement announcing that Jabhat al-Nusra is its branch in Syria. The leader of Al Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, denied the merger but affirmed their allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In May 2013, a faction of Jabhat emerged in the east of Syria operating under the name of the "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham"