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Palestine Oasis

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THE Sultan did not stay long in Aleppo. On the 22nd of the month Rabi'a II., in the year 579 (August 14, A.D. 1183), he set out for Damascus, preparatory to making an expedition into the infidel's territories. He called his troops together, proceeding on his march whilst they followed him He did not halt at Hamah, but advanced by forced marches; taking no provisions with him, until the 3rd of the month Jomada I. (August 24), when he reached Damascus. Here he passed some days making preparations, and on the 27th of the same month he pitched his camp by the Wooden Bridge, where he had ordered his troops to meet him. He halted here nine days, and then, on the 8th of Jomada II. (September 28), marched to el. Fawar, where he made his final arrangements before entering the enemy's country. From this place he pushed on to el-Kuseir, where he spent the night. Quite early the next morning he reached the ford (over the Jordan), and, having crossed- the river, marched as far as el-Beisan. Its inhabitants had abandoned their dwellings, leaving behind all the property they could not easily carry, and the fruits of their harvest. The soldiers were allowed to pillage the place, and they burnt everything they could not take with them. The Sultan continued his march to el-Jalut, a prosperous village, near which there is a spring ('am), and here he pitched his camp. He had sent forward a body of Nuri memluks (who had formerly belonged to Nur ed-Din), commanded by 'Izz ed-Din Jurdik and Jaweli, a memluk (who had served) Asad ed-Din, to ascertain the whereabouts and movements of the Franks. These men fell in unexpectedly with contingents from el-Kerak and esh-Shobek, on their way to reinforce the enemy. Our people attacked them, killed a great number, and made more than a hundred prisoners; then they returned, without having lost a single Moslem, except a man named Behram esh-Shawush. Towards the end of the day-the 10th of Jomada II. (September 30, A.D. 1183)-the Sultan received news of the defeat of the Franks. His army showed their delight, and became firmly persuaded that they were destined to obtain victory and success. On Saturday, the x 11th of the same month, the Sultan was informed that the Franks had quitted Seffuria, where they had mustered their forces, and were marching on el-Fula, a well-known village. As he meant to pit his forces against theirs in the field, he drew up his ranks in order of battle-right wing, left wing, and centre -and marched to meet them. The enemy advanced on the Moslems, and they came face to face (lit., eye to eye). The Sultan sent out the vanguard, composed of five hundred picked men, to attack them, and they made a great slaughter, and the enemy killed some. The Franks kept their ranks close, and their infantry protected their knights, and they neither charged nor stopped, but continued their march to the spring we mentioned above, and there camped. The Sultan halted opposite to them, and endeavoured to provoke them to quit their position and do battle by sending out skirmishing parties. Nevertheless, they remained where they were, seeing that the Moslems were in great force. As the Sultan could not draw them from their position, he resolved to retire, hoping that they would pursue him, and give him an opportunity of fighting a pitched battle. He therefore marched in the direction of et-Tor (Mount Tabor) on the 17th of the same month, and took up a position at the foot of the mountain, watching for a favourable moment to attack them as soon as they began to move. The Franks started at dawn, and retreated. He pursued them, and tried in vain to provoke them to fight by a constant shower of arrows, and he continued to follow their march until they halted at el-Fula, going back to their own country. The Moslems, seeing this, came to the Sultan, and advised him to retire, because their supplies were running very short. Besides, he had inflicted severe loss upon the enemy, both in killed and in the prisoners he had taken; and had destroyed several of their villages, such as 'Aferbela, the stronghold of Beisan, and Zer'ain. He therefore retired, victorious and triumphant, and halted at el-Fawar, where he gave leave to such of his men as wished to return to their homes. He then marched back to Damascus, which he entered on Thursday, the 24th of the same month. The citizens testified the greatest delight at his return. What lofty ambition dwelt in his soul! Even the capture and occupation of Aleppo did not deter him from undertaking another expedition! His object in all his conquests was to enlarge his resources for carrying on the Holy 'War, May God grant him a splendid reward in the next life, even as, by His mercy He allowed him to perform so many meritorious actions in this!

Last updated 1 January 2000 Written and   Designed  By Rafic Adnan  El-saleh
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