chapter  3
37 Pages

The Controversy about the Capture of Damascus

ByIsaiah Friedman

This chapter examines mistaken conclusions of Elie Kedourie's study regarding the capture of Damascus. It then examines the question of which troops entered Damascus first: the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), commanded by General Allenby, which was officially regarded as an Allied Army, or the Arabs. It summarizes Lieutenant-General Chauvel's plans for the capture of Damascus, which had been approved by Allenby. The issue soured Franco-British relations and constituted yet one of the source of controversies between the Arabs and the British. Linked to this vexing question is the dispute about Emir Feisal's installation in Damascus: was it in consequence of Arab military operations or was it engineered by a hidden hand—that of Allenby or Hedjaz. T. E. Lawrence? In military circles, Chauvel's contribution as the undisputed conqueror of Damascus was justifiably acknowledged. A brilliant tactician, he was responsible for the strategic conception and implementation of all the operations from Beer-Sheva to Aleppo.