Northern Storm Brigade

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Northern Storm Brigade
لواء عاصفة الشمال
Liwa Asifat al-Shamal
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Fighters of the Northern Storm Brigade during the Turkish military operation in Afrin. The group's logo can be seen in the background.
Fighters of the Northern Storm Brigade during the Turkish military operation in Afrin. The group's logo can be seen in the background.
Active 2011[1] – present[1][2]

Sunni Islamism[1]

Secularism (formerly)[1]
  • Mahmoud Naddom
  • Ammar Ibrahim Dadikhi  
  • Samir Amouri (former)[1]
Headquarters Azaz[1]
Area of operations Aleppo Governorate[1]
Size 1,100–2,000 (2012)
200 (2014)[1]
500 (January 2015)[3]
Part of
Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

The Northern Storm Brigade (Arabic: لواء عاصفة الشمال‎, Liwa Asifat al-Shamal) 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. It had been accused of kidnapping and smuggling.[1] The group retained exclusive control of the Bab al-Salam border crossing.[9]


The Northern Storm Brigade was responsible for the kidnapping of eleven Lebanese men in 2012.[7] Nine of them were released on 19 October 2013.[10] It fought in the Battle of Azaz (2012) and participated in the Siege of Menagh Air Base.[1] The group's former leader Ammar Ibrahim Dadikhi was severely wounded in the middle of January 2013, during the siege of this base, which resulted in him losing one of his legs[11] 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.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked the city of Azaz in September 2013 and pushed the brigade out. 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 28 February 2014, ISIL was ousted from Azaz by rebel groups including the Kurdish Front, putting the Northern Storm Brigade back in power.[6]

On 2 March 2014 the Northern Storm Brigade announced that they would join the Islamic Front under the leadership of the al-Tawhid Brigade.[12]

The brigade acts as the local police force in Azaz, operating under the Sharia Committee run by the Islamic Front and later the Levant Front.[3]

In June 2017, the Northern Storm Brigade and the Soldiers of Islam Brigade clashed with the Syrian Democratic Forces near Azaz.[8]

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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "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. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f "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 c "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. ^ a b "The suffering of the forcibly displaced Kurds continues in the countryside of Aleppo". ARA News. 13 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Syrian Rebel Leader Keeps Order On The Border". NPR. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Syrian rebels free Lebanese hostages". Al Jazeera English. 19 October 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Battle for Syria's Minakh Air Base". At War. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Northern Storm joins Tawhid Brigade". The Daily Star. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.