PARIS - The UN Security Council has begun informal talks on whether to impose sanctions on Syria's rebel al-Nusra Front after it pledged allegiance to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri this week, France said on Friday.
The militant Islamist element of the Syrian conflict poses a quandary for Western powers and their Arab allies, which favor the overthrow of President Bashar Assad but are alarmed by Sunni Muslim jihadi fighters whose fiercely anti-Shi'ite ideology has fueled sectarian tensions in the Middle East.
Speaking to reporters, French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said given Wednesday's announcement by Nusra chief Abu Mohammad al-Golani it was logical to look at how to deal with the Syrian group in the framework of the "fight against terrorism".
"One option is to act at the UN Security Council ... through the al-Qaida 1267 sanctions committee ," he said.
"It is one solution that we are studying and discussing informally with our UN Security Council partners and European allies," he said.