Al-Tawhid Brigade

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Al-Tawhid Brigade
لواء التوحيد
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Tawhid Brigades.jpg
Official logo of the Tawhid Brigade
Active 18 July 2012 – present
Ideology Sunni Islamism
Leaders Abdul Qader Saleh [1][2]
(Top Commander July 2012–November 2013)
Adnan Bakkour [3]
(Top Commander November 2013–January 2014)
Abdelaziz Salameh[4]
(Top Commander January 2014-Present)
Mohammed Hamadeen [5]
(Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade)
Yusef al-Jader [6]
(Senior commander in Aleppo)
Yussef Al-Abbas [1]
(Intelligence chief)
Headquarters Aleppo
Area of operations Aleppo Governorate, Syria
Homs Governorate, Syria
Strength 10,000 (own claim) (Nov 2012)[7]
11,000 (Oct 2013)[8]
Part of Islamic Front[9]
Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (2012/2013)
Free Syrian Army (formerly)[10]
Euphrates Volcano[11]
Syrian Revolutionary Command Council[12]
Originated as Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade
Fursan al-Jabal Brigade
Daret Izza Brigade
Allies Al-Nusra Front[13][8]
Ahrar ash-Sham[14]
Jaysh al-Islam[14]
Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union
Army of Mujahedeen
Alwiya al-Furqan
Sham Legion[15]
Opponents Syrian Armed Forces
Popular Protection Units (formerly)[16]
Ghuraba al-Sham [13]
Hezbollah
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]
Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

Liwa al-Tawhid, or the al-Tawhid Brigade (Arabic: لواء التوحيد‎, English: Unity Brigade) is an armed insurgent group involved in the Syrian civil wars Battle of Aleppo.[17] The brigade was formed in order to coordinate the battle for Aleppo and was originally composed of three subunits: the Fursan al-Jabal Brigade, the Daret Izza Brigade and the Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade.[18] According to international news agencies like Reuters, or newspapers like Al-Ahram or As-Safir, al-Tawhid is a Qatari-backed brigade[19] which has ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.[6][8]

Units[edit]

The largest subunit of the Tawhid Brigade, the Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade, is present in the Kilis Corridor and has taken over the leadership of several subunits in al-Bab to the east of Aleppo. It is now part of the Syria Revolutionaries Front.[20] The second subunit, the Fursan al-Jabal Brigade, operates in the southwest of the Aleppo Governorate near the border with the Idlib Governorate and the city of Atreb. The third subunit, the Daret Izza Brigade, operates most likely in the western part of the city of Aleppo.[21] Around June 2013 the Tawhid Brigade was reorganised into nearly 30 sub-factions.[22] On 2 March 2014 the Northern Storm Brigade announced that they would join the Islamic Front under the leadership of the al-Tawhid Brigade.[23]

In 2015, the 1st Regiment (al-Fawj al-Awwal) was established, it is made up of former members of the Al-Tawhid Brigade.

Activity[edit]

In November 2012, the Tawhid Brigade announced their support for the Syrian National Coalition but called for greater representation in the coalition. The brigade's leadership called for "a civil state where the basis of legislation is the Islamic faith, with consideration for all the [minority] groups of Syria". They thereby implicitly rejected an earlier statement they had made, with other local factions, which had called for an Islamic state in Syria and denouncing the Syrian National Coalition.[7][24]

In January 2013, the Tawhid Brigade announced on its website that it had become a member of the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front.[25]

In May 2013, the hell cannon, a mortar-like improvised firearm designed and built by the insurgent group Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade, was first noted in the press.[26]

In June 2013, Tawhid Brigade sent over 300 fighters under the command of Saleh and the Aleppo Military Council's Obaidi to the Battle of al-Qusayr.[27]

On the 22nd September 2013, the Tawhid Brigade joined the Islamic Front coalition. The group is formed largely from the Syrian Liberation Front, which is officially dissolved in the process.[28]

On 24th September 2013, the Tawid Brigade co-signed a statement with 11 other rebel groups which called for Sharia law and rejected the authority of the Syrian National Coalition.[29]

In 14th November 2013, a Syrian Air Force airstrike bombarded an army base held by Al Tawhid brigade in Aleppo killing a commander by the name of Youssef al-Abbas also injuring two others including Al Tawhid's head commander Abdul Qader Saleh.[30] Saleh subsequently died of his wounds in a Turkish hospital.[31]

Following the death of Saleh, the Tawhid Brigade reportedly suffered serious internal divisions and lost considerable members in defections to other rebel factions. They also experienced a sharp reduction in military assistance from Gulf states, due to US pressure to support more moderate rebel groups.[32][33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Syria air strike hits Islamist brigade leadership Al Ahram (AFP), 15 November 2013
  2. ^ Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds (Reuters), 18 November 2013
  3. ^ Al-Qaeda fighters kill Syrian rebel leaders Al-Jazeera, 2 February 2014
  4. ^ "The Levant Front: Can Aleppo’s Rebels Unite?". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 26 December 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Bolling 2012, p. 4.
  6. ^ a b "Free Syrian Army top commander killed in Syria's Aleppo". Al-Ahram. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Atassi, Basma (20 November 2012). "Aleppo rebels retract rejection of coalition". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "The Story of Al-Tawhid Brigade: Fighting for Sharia in Syria". Al-Monitor (As-Safir). 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Leading Syrian rebel groups form new Islamic Front". BBC. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Syria - The Free Syrian Army". Vice. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "YPG and FSA form a joint military chamber to combat ISIS in Syria". ARA News. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Revolutionary Command Council: Rebel Unity in Syria?". Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Warring Syrian rebel groups abduct each other’s members". Times of Israel. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Aron Lund (24 September 2013). "New Islamist Bloc Declares Opposition to National Coalition and US Strategy". Syria Comment. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Freedom, Human Rights, Rule of Law: The Goals and Guiding Principles of the Islamic Front and Its Allies". Democratic Revolution, Syrian Style. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Syrian Rebels Clash With Kurdish Militias". Al Monitor. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Panell, Ian (30 July 2012). "Syria: Fear and hunger amid battle for Aleppo". BBC. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Bolling 2012, p. 4-5.
  19. ^ Syrian air raid kills rebel commander in Aleppo: activists Reuters, 14 November 2013
  20. ^ Lund, Aron (13 December 2013). "The Syria Revolutionaries’ Front". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Bolling 2012, p. 5.
  22. ^ Lund, Aron (2013-08-27). "The Non-State Militant Landscape in Syria". CTC Sentinel. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  23. ^ "Northern Storm joins Tawhid Brigade". The Daily Star. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Lund, Aron (4 December 2012). "Aleppo and the Battle for the Syrian Revolution’s Soul". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "انضمام لواء التوحيد لجبهة تحرير سوريا الاسلامية".  Official Website (in Arabic)
  26. ^ Brown Moses (23 May 2013). "DIY Weapons In Syria - The Hell Cannon". Brown Moses Blog. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo sends support units to al-Qusayr Anadolu Agency". Aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  28. ^ "Islamists forge Syria's rebel alliance". SBS World News. 
  29. ^ "Free Syrian Army units ally with al Qaeda, reject Syrian National Coalition, and call for sharia". The Long War Journal. 
  30. ^ Syrian air raid kills rebel commander in Aleppo: activists
  31. ^ Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds
  32. ^ "As ISIS closes in, is it game over for Syria's opposition in Aleppo?". CNN. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Too Big to Fall". Foreign Policy. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. (subscription required)

External links[edit]