National Front for Liberation

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National Front for Liberation
الجبهة الوطنية للتحرير
Al-Jabhat al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir
LeadersSince August 2018:
  • Col. Fadlallah al-Haji (commander-in-chief and Sham Legion)
  • Ahmad Sarhan ("Abu Satif") (first deputy and Suqour al-Sham Brigades)[1]
  • Walid al-Mushayil ("Abu Hashim") (second deputy and Jaysh al-Ahrar)[1]
  • Anad al-Darwish ("Abu al-Munathir") (chief of staff and Ahrar al-Sham)[1]

May–August 2018:

  • Lt. Col. Suhaib Leoush (deputy commander and Free Idlib Army)[2]
  • Maj. Muhammad Mansour (chief of staff and Army of Victory)[2]
Dates of operation28 May 2018 – present
AllegianceSyrian opposition Syrian Interim Government
Active regionsNorthwestern Syria
Size70,000 (claimed)[3][better source needed]
Part of Free Syrian Army
Allies Turkey[5]
Army of Glory
Tahrir al-Sham[6]
Opponents Syria
Syrian Democratic Forces[7]
Tahrir al-Sham (sometimes)
Battles and warsSyrian Civil War

The National Front for Liberation (Arabic: الجبهة الوطنية للتحرير‎, Al-Jabhat al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir) is a Syrian rebel coalition that is part of the Syrian National Army (SNA) fighting in the Syrian Civil War. The group was formed by 11 rebel factions in northwestern Syria in May 2018,[8] and was officially announced on 28 May 2018. The formation receives major support from Turkey.[5] The group joined the SNA on 4 October 2019.[4]


From 28 May to 1 August 2018, Colonel Fadlallah al-Haji of the Sham Legion was the group's overall commander, Lieutenant Colonel Suhaib Leoush of the Free Idlib Army was its deputy commander, and Major Muhammad Mansour of the Army of Victory was its chief of staff.[2]

On 1 August, Ahmad Sarhan ("Abu Satif") of the Suqour al-Sham Brigades and Walid al-Mushayil ("Abu Hashim") of Jaysh al-Ahrar were named as the group's new first and second deputy commanders, respectively, while Walid al-Mushayil ("Abu Hashim") of Ahrar al-Sham was appointed chief of staff.[1]



On 4 June 2018, the Martyrs of Islam Brigade, part of the National Front for Liberation, joined the Sham Legion, also part of the NFL.[citation needed]

On 1 August, the Syrian Liberation Front, which was formed by Ahrar al-Sham and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement in February 2018, as well as Jaysh al-Ahrar and the Damascus Gathering, joined the formation.[1]

On 5 August, the NFL arrested 45 people accused of attempting to reconcile with the Syrian government in al-Ghab Plain and Mount Shashabo in the western Hama countryside.[9] On 13 August, the crackdown campaign was expanded to Maarat al-Nu'man and Ariha.[10]

On 9 August, the NFL's Sham Legion launched an attack on a People's Protection Units (YPG) cell in the southeastern Afrin countryside, killing four YPG fighters and capturing small arms and ammunition.[7]

On 14 August, the group released a video showing the training of its self-proclaimed "Unit 82 SWAT Forces".[11] On the same day, a group of around 200 fighters formed the Free Hayan Brigade and joined the NFL in order to "unite factions", "fight forces of the Syrian regime", and avoid rebel infighting.[12] The next day, the Free North Brigade, which operates around the same area, also joined the NFL.[13] On 27 August, the Imam Ali Battalion joined the Free North Brigade.


In January 2019, following defeat at the hands of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Nour al-Zenki left Idlib for the north, leaving the NFL.[14][15]

On 26 March 2019, the National Front for Liberation released a statement declaring its rejection and condemnation of the United States recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

During the Syrian military’s Northwestern Syria offensive (April 2019–present) against rebel-held territory, the NFL cooperated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the battle over Kfar Nabuda in Idlib, May 2019.[6] It also cooperated with the Army of Glory, and other rebel groups to counter the offensive.[citation needed]

It merged with the SNA in October 2019. According to Middle East Eye, neither the NFL nor SNA fighters had been informed of the merger, which was announced at a press conference in Urfa, southern Turkey.[16]

On 9 October 2019, 500 fighters from the Army of Glory, including its deputy commander-in-chief Captain Manaf Maarati and spokesman Captain Mustafa Maarati, reportedly defected to the NFL.[17]


On 15 March 2020, Step News Agency reported that Fadlallah al-Haji had resigned from his position on the orders of the Turkish government. The move came after the discovery of a large-scale embezzlement involving the Sham Legion and other groups within the NFL who misrepresented the amount of fighters within their ranks in order to receive extra salaries from their Turkish ally. Turkey requested the NFL to prepare between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters to prepare for a Turkish Armed Forces-led military offensive against the Syrian Armed Forces in the western Aleppo Governorate in the event of the Russia–Turkey ceasefire breaking down, but the NFL only equipped 350 fighters after submitting 14,000 fake names to Turkey.[18] However, Enab Baladi contacted Captain Naji Mustafa, who denied that al-Haji had resigned,[19] and al-Haji continues to serve as the commander-in-chief of the NFL.[20]

Member groups[edit]

Former groups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Meet the leading leaders of the "National Liberation Front"". Enab Baladi. 1 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "11 FSA Factions in New Command in of "National Front Liberation"". Syria Call. 28 May 2018.
  3. ^ "المعارضة المعتدلة.. القوة الأساسية في إدلب | هيومن فويس | عين على الحقيقة". هيومن فويس | عين على الحقيقة (in Arabic). 11 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "At the request of the Turkish Government, the National Liberation Front merges with the "National Army" in the form of 4 Corps of the "Ministry of Defense within the interim Syrian government"". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 4 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b "11 فصيلًا يشكلون "الجبهة الوطنية للتحرير" في إدلب". Enab Baladi. 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Anchal Vohra (May 2019). "Turkey-backed fighters join forces with HTS rebels in Idlib". Al Jazeera English.
  7. ^ a b c "Four dead for "units" Kurdish in Afrin region in confrontations with the "free"". SMART News Agency. 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Many factions in the province of Idlib are moving to merge under the name "National Liberation Front"". Syria Call. 11 May 2018.
  9. ^ ""National Liberation Front" begins a security campaign against "Orabi reconciliation"". Enab Baladi. 5 August 2018.
  10. ^ ""National Liberation Front" campaign against promoters of surrender to the Syrian regime expands to the cities of "Ma'arat al-Nu'man and Ariha". Syria Call. 13 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b @alwataniathrer (14 August 2018). "National Front for Liberation" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ a b "Dozens of fighters form the brigade of northern Aleppo and declare joining the "National Front"". SMART News Agency. 14 August 2018.
  13. ^ a b الشامية, محرر الدرر (15 August 2018). ""الجبهة الوطنية للتحرير" تتوسّع بانضمام فصيل عسكري جديد". الدرر الشامية (in Arabic).
  14. ^ "تعرف على تشكيلات "الجيش الوطني السوري" المعارض (ملف)". عربي21 (in Arabic). 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  15. ^ "Eyeing greater bargaining power, Tahrir Al Sham seizes wider slices of Syria's north". The National. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  16. ^ Ragip Soylu, Harun al-Aswad (4 October 2019). "Syrian rebel groups merge as Turkish offensive looms". Middle East Eye.
  17. ^ "Including leaders in the first row .. Defected elements of the "Army of Glory"". Zaman al-Wasl. 10 October 2019.
  18. ^ "خاص| اختلاس بالملايين وقوائم وهمية.. حقائق تكشفها "ستيب" عن عزل قائد الجبهة الوطنية للتحرير". Step News Agency (in Arabic). 15 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  19. ^ "How true is the resignation of Fadlallah al-Hajji from the leadership of the "National Front" in Idlib". Enab Baladi. 18 March 2020.
  20. ^ @calibreobscura (July 21, 2021). "Idlib: During a visit to the fronts by Fadlallah al-Haji for Eid Al-Adha, quite a decent look at an NLF Grad launcher (14 tube, 4 of which are loaded, and based on a Toyota), and a somewhat less decent view of what looks like a D-30 howitzer" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "The assassination of a leader of Ahrar al-Sham north of Idlib, and the last escape of the west of Hama". STEP News Agency. 2 February 2018. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2018.