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The Islamic World
The Islamic World

Khalifa Abu Bakr - Khalid's March to Syria

Suwa. The rest of the march through the desert was no longer oppressive. After a day's march, the Muslim army reached Suwa. That was the first settlement in Syria. It was an oasis surrounded by a pastureland where there were large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. The Muslims captured all the flocks and herds to serve for the army's food during the campaigns to follow.

Arak. The following day, the Muslim army reached Arak, which was a fortified town. The Byzantine garrison found resistance futile. They laid down arms, and the people of the town agreed to pay Jizya. The pact of peace was signed and the Muslims occupied the fort.

Tadmur. From Arak, the Muslim army advanced to Tadmur, where was a Christian Arab garrison, who shut themselves in the fort at the arrival of the Muslim army. The Muslims besieged the fort, and finding resistance useless, the Christian Arabs asked for terms. They surrendered and agreed to pay Jizya.

Qaryatein. From Tadmur, the Muslim army marched to Qaryatein. The Byzantine garrison here decided to resist. In the fight that followed, the Byzantine garrison was annihilated to a man. The people of the town sued for terms, and agreed to pay Jizya.

Huwareen. From Qaryatein, the Muslims marched to Huwareen, some ten miles away. Here the Muslims had to fight against the local inhabitants reinforced by a contingent of the Ghassans who had come to the relief of the local inhabitants. The Byzantines and the Ghassans were cut to pieces. The survivors laid down arms, and a peace pact was signed whereunder people agreed to pay Jizya.

Pass of the eagle. From Huwareen the Muslim army took the road to Damascus. They halted at a pass twenty miles from Damascus. At this pass in the Jabal-us-Sharq range, Khalid fluttered his standard bearing the 'eagle', and because of such standard, the pass came to be known as "Saniyyat-ul-Uqab'', i.e. the pass of the eagle.

Marj Rahit. From the pass, the Muslim army advanced to Marj Rahit. A garrison here offered some resistance, but was soon overpowered. The garrison surrendered and the Muslims amassed considerable booty. From Marj Rahit, the Muslim army under Khalid marched to Busra.

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