As noted in the document on the internal system of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), one of the seven foundational faction components of the SDF is Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati ('Brigade of the Democratic North'). Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati (also called Quwat al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati: 'Forces of the Democratic North') uses in its symbols a former flag of Syria that has come to be associated with the 'mainstream' political opposition and rebel groups of the 'Free Syrian Army' brand. However, this group, like the rest of the SDF, is rejected by that opposition and the rebel groups of all kinds.
I was curious to learn more about the history of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati, and so I was provided with the an account of its history by the group's spokesman. The key point is that the group's origins apparently lie in former rebels who were primarily based in Idlib and became displaced from the area in the 2014 period as a result of conflict with jihadist factions (chiefly Jabhat al-Nusra). The group thus portrays itself as the continuation of the real 'Free Syrian Army,' so to speak. I provide a translation of the full account below.
There has passed a decade of time that witnessed the outbreak of the events of a peaceful revolution in Syria, which saw a popular movement and wide-spread demonstrations in all the Syrian towns and villages that demanded political change, democracy and freedom after decades of political oppression and one-party rule. But the Syrian revolution faced strong security repression, and there occurred widespread operations of killing and arrest, which increased the state of the people's congestion, and the matters developed into the intervention of the Syrian army with its weapons and equipment, aircraft, helicopters, tanks' weapons and artillery. This transformed the peaceful revolution into an armed conflict, and the formation of the Free Army from officers and personnel who defected from the Syrian army because of the excessive force and bloody violence, and the use of military divisions to destroy the Syrian revolution. And there occurred confrontations and armed battles between the regime's army and the Free Army after defections and division of the Syrian army according to what happened.
Among the things that complicated the scene in Syria: for the Syrian revolution that started through the rise of multiple revolutions that the Middle East witnessed, and included a number of Arab countries since the end of 2010 in Tunisia, but Syria, by virtue of its important geo-political and geographic position, was exposed to regional and international interventions.
And it transformed into an arena of conflict and international and regional influence and there crossed over to it the forces of terrorism and extremism because of the state of security chaos across its borders, such that it transformed into a swamp in which the jihadist and extremist groups caused havoc, so while the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced in the Iraqi city of Mosul the announcement of the rise of the state of the Caliphate for the Da'esh organisation, so the Syrian city of al-Raqqa was announced as a capital for this claimed Caliphate.
And that was after the Da'esh organisation occupied great geographic spaces in western Iraq and eastern Syria, and the commission of crimes and terrorist atrocities from killing, robbing and plundering of the villages and towns that were attacked since the establishment of the organisation in the year 2014.
In addition there were operations of enslavement and rape that struck the women, girls and children in a terrifying scene that shocked the entire globe.
As for in western Syria, there was formed an organisation no less terroristic and extremist than the Da'esh organisation, for Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani announced the establishment of the terrorist Jabhat al-Nusra and his organisation extended from northwest Syria to its south. In addition the Muslim Brotherhood organisation rose up from the establishment of the organisations of Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Sham and Suqur al-Sham, which led to the end of the Free Army in all its factions and the destruction of it. And most of its fighters joined the extremist organisations, or the National Army present in northern Syria and directed by the Turkish intelligence, which transformed it into a mercenary army that has fought in Libya and Azerbaijan, and its mission has become to implement the Turkish ambitions and interests in the Middle East and northern Syria.
And amid all this complicated and interweaved scene, the year 2015 witnessed the formation of the international coalition against terrorism in Iraq and Syria. This coalition was formed by the United States and states from different parts of the world in order to confront the forces of extremism and terrorism headed by the Da'esh organisation in order to preserve global peace and security.
Also the year 2015 witnessed the intervention of the Russian Federation militarily in Syria, in order to prevent the collapse of the Syrian state after the Syrian regime was unable in military and security terms to control the situation in Syria despite the intervention of the Islamic Republic of Iran through sending of its advisors, officers, fighters and sectarian militias from the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani Shi'a militias. This kindled the conflict in Syria and there was thus an increase in the slipping away of matters and their going out of the points of control.
And the decision of the UN special resolution on 2254 for Syria, issued by the security council by consensus at the end of 2015, was a glimmer of hope for a desired political solution. The Syrians still hope for its implementation so that Syria can return to its civilised face and its leading role in the Middle East.
In the vastness of all that happened:
The comrade 'Abu Omar al-Idlibi' announced the formation of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati at the beginning of the year 2015 from patriotic personnel who were previously in revolutionary patriotic formations in Idlib province within the 'National Salvation Front.' This was so after extremist jihadist factions- supported and financed by the Turkish army- pursued and liquidated the national factions, which led to the displacement of personnel and families of Liwa al-Shamal from Idlib province and during that many of the patriotic fighters were exposed to killing, arrest and pursuit.
And the greatest portion of them were dispalced with their families: this matter contributed to the emptying of the revolutionary movement from its content, and the hegemony of the forces of extremism and terrorism over the scene.
And that led to there being a pretext for the intervention of Russia with the Syrian regime, to seize control of the liberated areas and returning of them to the control of the Syrian regime after the hegemony of the terrorists over them.
Therefore many of the members of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati and at the forefront of them the 'comrade Abu Omar al-Idlibi' headed to the areas of north Aleppo countryside and there they found great welcoming from the revolutionary factions remaining on their patriotic position and struggle.
This contributed to the framework of 'Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati' in its current form, which includes in its ranks fighters from the provinces and towns of Idlib, Aleppo, Damascus and Latakia.
The brigade has participated since its establishment in many battles against the terrorist organisations, and at the head of them the terrorist Da'esh organisation in the battles of liberation of towns and villages of the al-Shahba' region in the north of Aleppo province.
And the brigade participated in the defence of the Afrin region before its occupation by Turkey after the launching of aggression against it with the mercenaries from the factions of the Syrian National Army.
And Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati is one of the foundational formations of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and has participated with it, supported by the international coalition, in the liberation of the towns and villages of Manbij, Ain Eisa and al-Raqqa. And the last of those battles of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati was in destroying the last pockets of the terrorist Da'esh organisation in 'al-Baghuz.'
And Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati within the Syrian Democratic Forces waged battles in defence of the northeast of Syria during the attack and aggression of Turkey and the factions of the mercenary National Army at the end of 2019, and their occupation of the towns and villages of Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad.
And we have participated and still do in many of the security operations against what remains of the cells and the Da'esh organisation from lone wolves, after the terrorist organisation was destroyed militarily.
As for today, Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati is waging battles and confrontations in defence of the town of Ain Eisa and the defenceless civilians, in the face of the repeated attacks from the factions of the mercenary National Army that is supported by Turkey.
During the course of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati in its war on terrorism and defending the civilians in Syria, the brigade has offered '46' martyrs from the sincerely devoted, patriotic sons of Syria, as well as dozens of injured and wounded.
Since Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati is one of seven formations that established in the year 2015 the rise and announcement of the 'Syrian Democratic Forces,' it is spread through a number of military regiments over all the areas of north and east Syria in all of its towns and villages. This is so in order to defend them and protect the peace and security from every external aggression or terrorism that targets the Syrian civilians from all the sects and ethnic components.
And since Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati includes with its fighter members their families form wives, sons and relatives, most of the civilians therefore from the families of the fighters of Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimoqrati participate in the institutions of the Autonomous Administration for north and east Syria, in all the fields: political, societal and organisational.
And thus they have acquired expertise from the distinguished democratic experiment, and all of them hope to transfer their skills of expertise and their experience to Idlib from which they were displaced, after it is liberated from the forces of extremism and terrorism some day.