Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi (Part-59)



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Consequences of the victory
The importance of what happened to the Crusaders does not stop with the military victory that Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi achieved over them, rather this victory resulted in the establishment of a united Islamic front which included Muslim emirs in Syria and Mesopotamia. In addition, it made Aleppo safe from Crusader danger, especially after Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi captured a fortress close to al-Atharib in the same year. Overall, it was a huge disaster which deprived Antioch of its ruler and its army, which made the Syriacs and Armenians in Antioch rethink their position of supporting the Crusaders. This, it appears, is what prompted them to conspire to get rid of the Western Crusaders later on.279 Ibn al-4 Adeem states that after the battle ended, Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi went to Roger's tent so that the Muslims could give him all the booty that they had acquired, but he returned all the booty to the fighters and did not take anything from them except some weapon s that he kept for the Muslim monarchs in order to revive in their hearts the love of Islamic Jihad against the Crusaders. Ilghazi managed to achieve a series of victories in northern Syria, which created for the Muslims an atmosphere of calm and stability; the Muslims managed to inflict a crushing defeat on the Crusader reinforcements which came, led by Baldwin King of Jerusalem, to save Roger.281 Nonetheless, Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi was not content with that; he met in Artah with his ally Tughtigin, and they agreed to attack al-Atharib and Zerdana. They managed to capture both locations from the Crusaders; Ilghazi then went to Daneeth with a small group of Muslims, where he met Baldwin and Robert, ruler of Zerdana. A battle took place between the two sides in Jumada 1513 AH/1119 CE, which resulted in victory for Najm ad Deen Ilghazi and defeat for the Crusaders, who sought refuge in the fortress of Hab after being pursued by Najm ad-Deen.282 Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi returned to Aleppo, whilst his men, on their way back, encountered the ruler of Zerdana, Robert the Leper, who was accompanied by a force of Crusaders. Ilghazi's troops attacked them, which forced those Crusaders who survived to go back to the fortress of Hab; Robert the Leper fell into the hands of the Muslims, who took their captive to Ilghazi in Aleppo, who in turn sent him to Tughtigin in Damascus, where he was killed in captivity. 283 At the end of Jumada I 513 AH/1119 CE, Ilghazi left Aleppo and went back to Mardin because of financial difficulties that he was facing, in addition to the fact that Aleppo was in a weak position which made him unable to stay there.284

The siege of Antioch and the truce with the King of Jerusalem
Despite the fact that Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi was occupied with administrative matters in Mardin, he gathered an army of Turkmens and crossed the Euphrates with them to Syria in 514 AH/1120 CE, where he met Tughtigin. They went to Antioch, which they besieged but were unable to conquer. They then went to Qinassareen which they besieged for a day and a night, but they did not get anything from that, either. Dhaheer ad-Deen Tughtigin suggested to his companion that they should lift the siege and each go back to his own land. Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi accepted his advice and returned to Aleppo, after realizing the strength that the Crusaders had whilst his Turkmen troops dispersed. Ilghazi had no choice but to enter a truce with the King of Jerusalem, Baldwin II, according to which the Crusaders would take al-Ma'arrah, Kafr Tab, al-Barah and some villages in Jabal as-Summaq, and this truce would last until the end of the year.285

The truce is broken
The Crusaders did not adhere to this truce. In 514 AH/1120 CE, Joscelin the ruler of Turbessel raided some land that belonged to Aleppo, which forced the people of Aleppo to send a strongly-worded protest to Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, telling him of Joscelin's aggression against the Muslims. He responded by saying, "I have no control over Joscelin." 286 The Crusaders did not stop there; the Crusaders in Antioch also raided the city of Shaizar and captured a number of Muslims and made unreasonable demands of the Arab emir of Shaizar, Abul-'Asakir Sultan ibn Munqidh, which forced him to make a peace deal with them in return for tribute.287 In addition to that, the Crusaders took advantage of Ilghazi's absence from Aleppo and launched an attack on al-Atharib in Safar 515 AH/ 1121 CE, burning its houses and crops, and even attacked Aleppo itself. Baldwin II laid siege to it, which resulted in fifty of its people being taken captive, but the Aleppans succeeded in rescuing their brethren and forcing the Crusaders to retreat to Antioch.288 It appears that Najm ad-Deen Ilghazi was forced to stay in Mardin for some time. This led him to write to his son Sul ayman, who was his representative in Aleppo, telling him to make a truce with the Crusaders as a result of which the Crusaders acquired Sarmeen, Baldat Layloon, some agricultural land around Aleppo, and al-Atharib289

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