Northern Storm Brigade

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Northern Storm Brigade
لواء عاصفة الشمال
Liwa Asifat al-Shamal
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
LiwaAsifaAlShamal logo.png
The logo used by the group
IdeologySunni Islamism[1][2]
Secularism (formerly)[1]
  • Mahmoud Naddom
  • Ammar Ibrahim Dadikhi  
  • Samir Amouri (former)[1]
Area of operationsAleppo Governorate[1]
Size1,100–2,000 (2012)
200 (2014)[1]
500 (January 2015)[3]
Part of
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War

The Northern Storm Brigade (Arabic: لواء عاصفة الشمال‎, Liwā’ ’Āṣifat ash-Shamāl) is a Syrian rebel group formed in 2011 and based in Azaz in northwestern Syria, near the border with Turkey. Its leader and other members of the group were smugglers from the city and its surrounding before the Syrian Civil War.[1] The group retained exclusive control of the Bab al-Salam border crossing.[8]


Founded in 2011, the Northern Storm Brigade took part in the rebel conquest of Azaz and the Siege of Menagh Air Base.[1] It accepted the Supreme Military Council's authority in late 2012.[2] The group's former leader Ammar Ibrahim Dadikhi was severely wounded in the middle of January 2013, during the siege of Menagh Air Base, which resulted in him losing one of his legs[9] and eventually his life. He was succeeded by the group's former political leader, Samir Amouri. Two senior commanders (Hadi Salo and Samir Akkash) were also killed in this period, while other members of the group defected to Islamic rebel formations.[citation needed]

US Senator John McCain met with fighters from the group on May 27, 2013.[10]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked the city of Azaz in September 2013 and pushed the brigade out.[2][1] Samir Amouri reportedly fled to Turkey and was replaced by the current leader, Mahmoud Naddom. Under his rule, the group began to develop relationships and begin coordinating with other rebels. During this period they were based in the Turkish city of Kilis.[1]

On 2 March 2014 the Northern Storm Brigade announced that they would join the Islamic Front under the leadership of the al-Tawhid Brigade.[11]

Military capabilities[edit]

As of early 2015 Northern Storm had around 500 fighters, including several Kurds.[3] The group's headquarters were located at a military base to the north of Azaz.[3] It lacked heavy weaponry and vehicles, which had led to criticism of the group's abilities as a fighting force.[3]

Criminal activities[edit]

The Northern Storm Brigade has been accused of kidnapping and smuggling,[1] and was responsible for the kidnapping of eleven Lebanese men in 2012.[7] Nine of them were released on 19 October 2013.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The Northern Storm Brigade: It's History, Current Status, and Why It Matters By Chris Looney". Syria Comment. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Guide to the Syrian rebels". BBC. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Special Report: Northern Storm and the Situation in Azaz (Syria)". MERIA Journal. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The Dawn of Freedom Brigades: Analysis and Interview". 2 October 2014.
  5. ^ Lund, Aron. "Islamist Mergers in Syria: Ahrar al-Sham Swallows Suqour al-Sham".
  6. ^ a b "Syrian Kurds, rebels find common enemy in ISIS". Al Monitor. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Azaz Northern Storm Brigade". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Syrian Rebel Leader Keeps Order On The Border". NPR. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  9. ^ "The Battle for Syria's Minakh Air Base". At War. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Northern Storm joins Tawhid Brigade". The Daily Star. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Syrian rebels free Lebanese hostages". Al Jazeera English. 19 October 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014.