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Map of Damascus from 'Palestine and Syria with Routes through Mesopotamia and Babylonia and with the Island of Cyprus' by Karl Baedeker.

Map of Damascus from Palestine and Syria with Routes through Mesopotamia and Babylonia and with the Island of Cyprus by Karl Baedeker.

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Tuesday, October 1, 1918

"At about nine in the morning on Tuesday, 1 October, Lawrence and Stirling drove into Damascus to find scenes of jubilation. Nuri Shaalan and Nasir had already entered the city, and the narrow streets of the old city of Damascus were 'aflame with joy and enthusiasm,' reminisced Stirling in his memoirs, Safety Last. 'Dervishes danced around us. The horses of the Bedouin, curvetting and prancing, gradually cleared a way for us through the dense crowds, while from the balconies and rooftops veiled women pelted us with flowers and—far worse—with attar of roses. It was weeks before I could get the smell of the essence out of my clothing.'"

Quotation Context

Damascus, a city of 300,000 in Syria, fell to the Allies on October 1, 1918, with the Australian Light Horse first passing through the city in pursuit of the retreating Turks, followed by the Arab Army. T. E. Lawrence — Lawrence of Arabia — hoped to see an Arab government in the city. Nuri Shaalan was Sheikh of the north Arabian Rwala Bedu. Sharif Nasir was a supporter of Feisal and a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. Francis Stirling was a British intelligence officer.


Setting the Desert on Fire by James Barr, page 297, copyright © 2008, 2006 by James Barr, publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., publication date: 2009


1918-10-01, 1918, October, Damascus, Lawrence, T.E. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence