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Mosque in A'zaz.jpg
Azaz is located in Syria
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 36°35′10″N 37°2′40″E / 36.58611°N 37.04444°E / 36.58611; 37.04444
Country  Syria
Governorate Aleppo Governorate
District A'zaz District
Nahiyah Azaz
Elevation 560 m (1,840 ft)
Population (2004)
 • Total 31,623
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Azaz (Arabic: أعزاز‎‎ A‘zāz, Hurrian: Azazuwa, Neo-Assyrian: Ḫazazu, Old Aramaic: Ḥzz) is a city in northwestern Syria, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometres) north-northwest of Aleppo. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Azaz had a population of 31,623 in the 2004 census.[1] As of 2015, its inhabitants were almost entirely Sunni Muslims, mostly Arabs, with a number of Kurds and a small Yazidi community of ten people.[2]

It is historically significant as the site of the Battle of Azaz between the Crusader States and the Seljuk Turks on June 11, 1125. It is notable for its proximity to a Syrian–Turkish border crossing, which enters Turkey at Oncupinar, south of the city of Kilis.


Azaz was the scene of a humiliating defeat of the Byzantine emperor Romanos III in August 1030, but was soon after captured by the Byzantines under Niketas of Mistheia.

On 11 June 1125 (or June 13),[3] forces of the Crusader States commanded by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem defeated Aq-Sunqur il-Bursuqi's army of Seljuk Turks and raised the siege of the town.

Joscelin I of Edessa had captured the city from the atabeg of Aleppo in 1118. The next year the Crusaders under Roger of Salerno were severely defeated at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, and King Baldwin II of Jerusalem was captured while patrolling in Edessa in 1123.

In 1124 Baldwin II was released, and almost immediately he laid siege to Aleppo on October 8, 1124. This caught the attention of il-Bursuqi, the Seljuk atabeg of Mosul. Il-Bursuqi marched south to relieve the siege of Aleppo, which was nearing the point of surrender in January 1125 after a three-month siege. In spite of the city being "the greatest prize the war could offer,"[4] Baldwin cautiously withdrew without a fight.

Later, il-Bursuqi besieged the town of Azaz, to the north of Aleppo in territory belonging to the County of Edessa. Baldwin II, Joscelin I, and Pons of Tripoli, with a force of 1100 knights from their respective territories (including knights from Antioch, where Baldwin was regent), as well as 2000 other foot soldiers, met il-Bursuqi outside Azaz, where the Seljuk atabeg had gathered his much larger force. Baldwin pretended to retreat, thereby drawing the Seljuks away from Azaz into the open where they were surrounded. After a long and bloody battle, the Seljuks were defeated and their camp captured by Baldwin, who took enough loot to ransom the prisoners taken by the Seljuks (including the future Joscelin II of Edessa).

Apart from relieving Azaz, this victory allowed the Crusaders to regain much of the influence they had lost after their defeat at Ager Sanguinis in 1119. Baldwin planned to attack Aleppo as well, but Antioch, which passed to Bohemund II when he came of age in 1126, began to fight with Edessa and the plan fell through. Aleppo and Mosul were united under the much stronger ruler Zengi in 1128, and Crusader control of northern Syria began to dwindle.

Syrian Civil War[edit]

On 19 July 2012, during the Syrian civil war, rebels opposed to the Syrian government succeeded in capturing the town.[5] The town is highly valued as a logistical supply route close to the Turkish–Syrian border.

Azaz was mostly controlled in early 2015 by Northern Storm, a brigade under the authority of the Islamic Front.[2] A Sharia Committee is responsible for the administration of Sharia law, and is policed by the Northern Storm brigade.[2] A Civil Council governs the field of public services.[2]

As of January 2015, al-Nusra Front has a presence in the town and controls one mosque.[2] By October 2015, the control of the town was shared between Nusra and a brigade of the FSA.[6]

On 17 January 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces took control of the strategic Azaz checkpoint.[7]


  • Smail, R. C. Crusading Warfare 1097-1193. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, (1956) 1995. ISBN 1-56619-769-4

Coordinates: 36°35′10″N 37°02′38″E / 36.586°N 37.044°E / 36.586; 37.044