Arab revolt

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A revolt against Turkish rule in the Middle East. In July 1915 Hussein ibn Ali, Sherif of Mecca, negotiated with Britain about rising up against the Ottoman Empire, a German ally during World War I, which ruled the Middle East at the time. In return, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, promised that Britain would support Arab independence once Turkish control had come to an end. The revolt began in June 1916, when an Arab army of some 70,000 men, financed by Britain and led by Faisal I, moved against Turkish forces. They captured Aqabah and cut the Hejaz railway, a vital strategic link through the Arab peninsula which ran from Damascus to Medina. This enabled British troops to advance into Palestine and Syria. With the capture of Damascus (1 October 1918) Turkish hold on the Middle East ended. Despite their promise to support Arab independence, the British took charge of governing Transjordan, Iraq, and Palestine as a Mandate themselves, while France took control of Syria and the Lebanon. As a further affront, the Balfour Declaration directly contradicted the British commitment to the Arabs through the promise to support an independent Jewish state in Palestine.

Subjects: Military History — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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