Battle of Markada

The Battle of Markada (also spelled "Markadah" or "Markadahin")[4] was a military confrontation between two jihadist groups, al Qaeda's al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), over the town of Markada in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, in March 2014 during the Syrian civil war.[3] The strategic importance of the town to the ISIL lay in its position on the group's weapons supply route from Iraq, the road linking Al-Hasakah with Deir ez-Zor and a hill that dominates the surrounding area.[5] On the ISIL side there were many Sunni Iranians, including Kurds, who played an important role in the battle.[6]

Battle of Markada
Part of inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War
Date21–31 March 2014
(1 week and 3 days)

ISIL victory

  • ISIL captures Markada on 29 March[1]
al Nusra Front

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Katiba al-Bittar al-Libi
Commanders and leaders
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
(Leader of the Al-Nusra Front)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Leader of ISIL)
Omar al-Farouk al-Turki 
(Top provincial ISIL commander)[1]
Casualties and losses
120 killed[3]


The battle started on 21 March 2014,[3] with fighting near Markada's grain silos that left 27 al-Nusra Front fighters dead and others missing.[7]

On the morning of 27 March, ISIL attacked the town, which was being held by the al-Nusra Front. ISIL managed to force al-Nusra to withdraw to the town's hospital and the mountain overlooking Markada.[8]

Before dawn on 29 March, clashes erupted in the town[9] as ISIL attacked the hospital and al-Nusra positions in the mountain.[8] After heavy fighting that left 43 al-Nusra and 13 ISIL fighters dead,[7] ISIL took full control of the town[1] as al-Nusra forces retreated towards the town of al-Sour in the eastern rural area of Deir ez-Zor province. Many al-Nusra fighters were also captured.[10] Among those killed was also the top provincial ISIL commander,[1] Omar al-Farouk al-Turki.[8]

On 31 March, al-Nusra launched a counterattack in an attempt to recapture the town.[7] By this time, the number of those killed since the start of the fighting had risen to 120.[3]



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