- Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar
caption=Victory of the Mongols (left) over the Mamluks (right) at the 1299 Battle of Homs (Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar).
partof=the Mongol Invasion of Syria (1299)
December 22– December 23, 1299
Wadi al-Khazandar, north-east of Homs
result=Pyrrhic Mongol Victory
Ilkhanate, Georgia and Armenia
commander2=Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad
strength1=60,000 Mongol troops 40,000 Georgian and Armenian auxilliaries 12,000
Maroniteand Druzebowmenfact|date=July 2008
casualties2=200-1,000?? Mamluks (Army Routed)|
The Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, also known as the Third Battle of Homs, was a
Mongolvictory over the Mamluks in 1299.
Hulagu Khanhad invaded the Middle East all the way to Palestine. Before he could follow up with an invasion of Egypt, he was called back to Mongolia. He left only 20,000 soldiers of an army numbering possibly 800,000 in the area. This army was defeated at the Battle of Ain Jalut, and the Mongols were expelled from Palestine and Syria. Hulegu returned with another force but his invasion was permanently delayed after his Muslim cousin Berkeof the Golden Hordesecretly allying with Mamluks began a civil war with him in Caucasus.
After recovering the
Levant, the Mamluks went on to invade the Armenian Kingdom of Ciliciaand the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, both Mongol protectorates, leaving after a near defeat forced them back to Syria.
In 1299, nearly 20 years after the last Mongol defeat in Syria at the Second Battle of Homs,
Ghazan Khanand an army of 60,000 Mongolsand 40,000 Georgians and Armenians crossed the Euphratesriver (the Mamluk-Ilkhanid border) and seized Aleppo. The Mongolarmy then proceeded southwards until they were only a few miles north of Homsin a battle line that was almost 10 miles wide.
The Sultan of
Egyptwho was in Syriaat the time marched an army of 20,000 to 30,000 Mamluks northwards from Damascusuntil he met the Mongolstwo to three Arab farsakhs (6-9 miles) north-east of Homsat the Wadi al-Khazandaron the 22nd of December 1299 at 5 o'clock in the morning. The sun had already risen.
The battle started with the
Mamlukinfantry charging the Mongols. Then the Mongolheavy cavalry charged at the Mamlukswhile Mongolarchers stood behind their horses and peppered the Mamlukswith arrows.
It seems that early on in the battle, the two forces ended up in hand to hand combat. The Mamluks were superior to the Mongols in close quarters fighting as the Mongols' general tactics in battle were based on the use of mounted archers, hence the
Mamlukswere at an advantage although being purportedly outnumbered over 3 to 1.Fact|date=June 2008
Eventually in the afternoon of the battle, a rumour that the
Mamlukright flank had been broken through by the Mongolscirculated. It was unknown whether this was rumour was true as the Mamlukarmy began to rout once hearing the rumour. Messages between sections of the army could take hours to reach the other side of the battlefield.
It was learnt, however, that the battle line of the
Mamlukshad purportedly held until the next day when both sides retreated.
Mamluk sources state that only 200 Mamluk soldiers had been killed whilst Mongol casualties numbered 5,000-10,000. These figures can be considered suspicious when an important factor in the battle was the rumour that the right flank of the Mamluks had collapsed yet only 200 soldiers died during the entire battle.
Other sources cite Mongol casualties at 14,000 while Mamluk casualties were only 1,000.Fact|date=June 2008
Despite the apparent casualty disparity, it is assumed from the fact that the Mongols were left in control of the battlefield and went on to capture Damascus that the Mamluks suffered a "serious reverse". [Burns, Ross (2005) "Damascus, a History". Routledge, ISBN 978-0415271059, p. 202.]
The Mamluk army fled southwards towards Damascus. However, en route they were constantly harassed by 12,000 Maronite and Druz bowmen who wanted independence of their homeland. Mongols followed them as far as Gaza.
Mongols, who had claimed a "great victory",Fact|date=June 2008 continued their march south until they reached Damascus. It was soon sacked and the citadel besieged. However, in 1300 the Mongols moved back across the Euphrates to face an invasion to the east by the Chagatais.
There were no concerted Christian efforts to build on the
Mongolvictories and the Mamlukswere soon in repossession of Syria and Palestine. Participation of the Georgian and Armenian troops in the campaign apparently was out of any context of the western Christian Crusades.
After the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar the Mongols kept pushing into Syria. The Mongols were able to reach the outskirts of Damascus. However, in 1303 at the
Battle of Marj al-Saffarthe Mongols were defeated by the Mamluks ending Mongol incursions into Syria.
* Adh-Dhababi's Record of the Destruction of Damascus by the Mongols in 1299-1301(http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/somogyi1.htm)
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