Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Official logo of the Tawhid Brigade
|Area of operations||Syria|
|Strength||10,000 (own claim) (Nov 2012)
11,000 (Oct 2013)
|Merger of||Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade
Fursan al-Jabal Brigade
Daret Izza Brigade
|Battles and wars|
The al-Tawhid Brigade (Arabic: لواء التوحيد, translit. Liwa al-Tawhid, lit. 'Brigade of Oneness'), named after Tawhid, the "oneness of God," but often mistranslated as Unity Brigade, was an armed Islamist insurgent group involved in the Syrian Civil War.
The al-Tawhid Brigade was formed in 2012. Reportedly backed by Qatar, al-Tawhid was considered one of the biggest groups in northern Syria, dominating much of the insurgency around Aleppo.
Originally, al-Tawhid was composed of three subunits, the Fursan al-Jabal Brigade, the Daret Izza Brigade and the Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade.
Its leader Abdul Qader Saleh died late 2013 in a devastating Syrian Army airstrike. Its northern branch, the Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade, was in 2014 reportedly "superseded" by the Northern Sun Battalion (Shams al-Shamal).
The Tawhid Brigade consisted was organized into three branches:
- The Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade, as the largest subunit of the Tawhid Brigade, was present in the Kilis Corridor and took over the leadership of several subunits in al-Bab to the east of Aleppo. It is now part of the Syria Revolutionaries Front.
- The Fursan al-Jabal Brigade operated in the southwest of Aleppo Governorate near the border with the Idlib Governorate and the city of Atarib.
- The Daret Izza Brigade, named after the town of Daret Izza, operates most likely in the western part of the city of Aleppo.
Around June 2013 the Tawhid Brigade was reorganised into nearly 30 sub-factions.
The al-Tawhid Brigade was formed in 2012 in order to coordinate the Battle of Aleppo, with the stated mission to found a "civil state in Syria with Islam being the main source of legislation."
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.
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.
On 24 September 2013, the Tawhid Brigade co-signed a statement with 11 other rebel groups which called for Sharia law and, allying with al-Qaeda, rejected the authority of the Syrian National Coalition.
On 14 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. Saleh subsequently died of his wounds in a Turkish hospital.
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.
By October 2014, al-Tawhid had seen many of its eastern Aleppo province affiliates becoming defunct but re-emerging as break-off groups, and its northern branch Ahrar al-Shamal being "superseded" by the Northern Sun Battalion (Shams al-Shamal).
- Syria air strike hits Islamist brigade leadership Al Ahram (AFP), 15 November 2013
- Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds (Reuters), 18 November 2013
- Al-Qaeda fighters kill Syrian rebel leaders Al-Jazeera, 2 February 2014
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- Bolling 2012, p. 5.
- Lund, Aron (2013-08-27). "The Non-State Militant Landscape in Syria". CTC Sentinel. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
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- "انضمام لواء التوحيد لجبهة تحرير سوريا الاسلامية". Official Website (in Arabic)
- Brown Moses (23 May 2013). "DIY Weapons In Syria - The Hell Cannon". Brown Moses Blog. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- "Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo sends support units to al-Qusayr Anadolu Agency". Aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
- "Islamists forge Syria's rebel alliance". SBS World News.
- Syrian air raid kills rebel commander in Aleppo: activists
- Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds
- "As ISIS closes in, is it game over for Syria's opposition in Aleppo?". CNN. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- "Too Big to Fall". Foreign Policy. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.(subscription required)
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