WASHINGTON - - U.S. officials say the Obama administration is preparing to designate a Syrian rebel group with alleged ties to al-Qaida as a foreign terrorist organization.
The step is aimed at blunting the influence of extremists within the Syrian opposition.
Officials tell The Associated Press that the largely symbolic move is expected to be announced next week and would freeze any assets that members of Jabhat al-Nusra have in U.S. jurisdictions.
The move also would bar Americans from providing the group with material support.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to preview the designation publicly.
Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings and other attacks on Syrian government targets. Its activity has raised fears of a growing Islamic militant element among the opposition.