Mountain Hawks Brigade
The Mountain Hawks Brigade (Arabic: لواء صقور الجبل, romanized: Liwa’ Suqour al-Jabal), formerly the Hawks of Mount Zawiya Brigade (Arabic: لواء صقور جبل الزاويه, romanized: Liwa' Suqour Jabal al-Zawiya), is a Saudi-sponsored Free Syrian Army rebel group operating in northwestern Syria. The group took its name from the Zawiya Mountain in the Idlib Governorate.
|Mountain Hawks Brigade|
Liwa’ Suqour al-JabalParticipant in the Syrian Civil War
لواء صقور الجبل
Logo of the Mountain Hawks Brigade
|Leaders||Capt. Hassan Haj Ali|
Lt. Col. Nasha'at Haj Ahmad
|Headquarters||Jabal Zawiya, Idlib Governorate, Syria|
|Area of operations|
|Size||2,500 fighters (own claim, 2016)|
|Originated as||Hawks of Mount Zawiya Brigade|
|Battles and war(s)||Syrian Civil War
In early 2014 the Hawks of Mount Zawiya Brigade joined the Syria Revolutionaries Front but later left the SRF due to internal disputes. It was one of the founding members of the 5th Corps but it also became defunct. Since 2014 the group is supplied with BGM-71 TOW missiles from the CIA through Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, and is one of the original and most prolific users of the missiles in Syria.
At the beginning of the Russian military intervention in Syria in October 2015, the headquarters of the Mountain Hawks Brigade was hit by 20 air-to-surface missiles from the Russian Air Force. 2 months later, The Mountain Hawks Brigade clashed with the newly founded Syrian Democratic Forces in the northern Aleppo Governorate, capturing a village from the Army of Revolutionaries. Mountain Hawks Brigade fighters then took down and burned the flags of the SDF and the Army of Revolutionaries while chanting "Allahu Akbar". The group also participated along with other Fatah Halab factions in the shelling of the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in Aleppo.
During the Northern Aleppo offensive (February 2016), a unit of the Mountain Hawks Brigade consisting of 50 fighters stationed in the town of Deir Jamal in northern Aleppo defected to the Army of Revolutionaries. The unit's commander was captured by another rebel group soon after his defection.
In September 2016, the Mountain Hawks Brigade, along with the Northern Division and the 13th Division, formed the Free Idlib Army, In response to the establishment of the Free Idlib Army, a group of Mountain Hawks Brigade fighters defected to join Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in early October.
On 25 January 2017, the groups of fighters which left the Mountain Hawks Brigade in September 2016 for the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, returned, along with their leader, Lt. Col. Nasha'at Haj Ahmad.
- Abdul Rahman al-Masri (3 May 2017). "Analysis: The Free Idlib Army's Role in the U.S. Battle Against Al-Qaida in Syria". Syria Deeply.
- "The U.S.-Backed Groups In Syria That Say They Are Being Bombed By Russia". RFERL. 2 October 2015.
- "CAPTAIN HASSAN HAJ ALI: SYRIAN COMMANDER OF THE US-VETTED MOUNTAIN HAWKS BRIGADE". Yalla Souriya. 4 May 2016.
- "Iran troops to join Syria war, Russia bombs group trained by CIA". Reuters. 7 October 2015.
- "The formation of the Hawks of Mount Zawiya Brigade as part of the Descendants of the Prophet". Mohammed Deyaa. 6 September 2012.
- "THE MODERATE REBELS: A GROWING LIST OF VETTED GROUPS FIELDING BGM-71 TOW ANTI-TANK GUIDED MISSILES". Hasan Mustafas. 5 August 2015.
- "YPG, allies clash with Syrian opposition groups in Aleppo". Middle East Eye. 29 November 2015.
- "The "rebel army" controls two villages in the northern countryside of Aleppo". SMART News Agency. 8 February 2016.
- "FSA in Idlib… A new launch towards unified military action". RFS Media Office. 20 September 2016.
- US-backed rebels defect to al-Qaeda branch in Syria Al Masdar News, 5 October 2016