The Battle of Azaz was an engagement fought in August 1030 near the Syrian town of Azaz between the Byzantine army, led by Emperor Romanos III Argyros (r. 1028–1034) in person, and the forces of the Mirdasid Emirate of Aleppo, likewise under the personal command of Emir Shibl al-Dawla Nasr (r. 1029–1038). The Mirdasids defeated the much larger Byzantine army and took great booty, even though they were eventually unable to capitalise on their victory.
Aleppo had long been a flashpoint between Byzantium and its Arab neighbours, with the Byzantines claiming a protectorate over the city since 969. In the aftermath of a defeat inflicted on the Byzantine governor of Antioch by the Mirdasids, Romanos launched a campaign against Aleppo. Despite his own inexperience in military matters, Romanos decided to lead the army in person, leading contemporary Byzantine chroniclers to point to a quest for military glory as his primary motivation, rather than the preservation of the status quo. At the head of his army, estimated some 20,000 strong by modern historians, Romanos arrived in Antioch on 20 July 1030. The Mirdasids sent envoys with peace overtures including the payment of tribute, but Romanos, confident of success, rejected them and detained the ambassador. Although his generals urged him to avoid action in the hot and dry Syrian summer, Romanos led his forces forward. The Mirdasid army was considerably smaller, 700–2,000 men according to the sources, but comprised mostly Bedouin light cavalry, which enjoyed superior mobility against their heavily-armoured opponents.
The two armies clashed at Azaz, northwest of Aleppo, where the Byzantines set up camp. The Mirdasids ambushed and destroyed a Byzantine reconnaissance force, and started harassing the imperial camp. Unable to forage, the Byzantines began suffering from thirst and hunger, while an attack on the Mirdasid forces was defeated. Finally, on 10 August, the Byzantine army commenced its withdrawal to Antioch, but it soon collapsed into a chaotic affair. The Arabs used the opportunity to attack the disordered Byzantines, routing them; Emperor Romanos himself only escaped thanks to the intervention of his bodyguard. The scattered remnants of the imperial army gathered at Antioch. Romanos returned to Constantinople, but his generals managed to recover the situation afterwards, putting down Arab rebellions and forcing Aleppo to resume tributary status shortly after in 1031.