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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

XV: The Second Crusade,   pp. 463-512 PDF (5.7 MB)

Page 509

the Koran of the caliph ~Uthrnãn while they tried desperately to fortify
the city from within. The next day he led a counter-attack which was not
successful in forcing the crusaders from their position but did kill and
wound many of their number. This example of courage heartened the Damascenes;
and the situation remained the same during that night and the next day, with
no serious attack made by either side. By this time Saif-ad-Din and NUr-adDIn
had reached Horns, and Saif-ad-DIn had notified Unur that he would fight
the crusaders if a man of his choice could cornrnand Darnascus during the
conflict. Although he said that he would return the city to Unur if the Moslems
won, the vizir of Damascus was in a dilemma. Because of his former friendly
relations with Jerusalem he had incurred the hostility of the Moslems and
felt that Saif-ad-Din would not really return the city. 
 Unur had apparently written to the Syrian Franks in an attempt to induce
them to raise the siege. According to Ibn-al-Athir he pointed out that if
Damascus fell, the foreign Franks would expect it for themselves and would
claim additional land which belonged to the kingdom of Jerusalem, and that,
if he gave the city to Saifad-Din, Jerusalem would be readily accessible
for the next Moslem campaign. The effect of this message was heightened by
the fact that Saif-ad-Din had written to the crusaders saying that he would
seize them if they did not leave Damascus alone. All this news appalled the
Syrian Franks, and Unur has been credited with increasing his advantage by
sending money to encourage them to withdraw. Furthermore the Palestinian
barons had been annoyed when the three kings had agreed to grant Damascus
to the count of Flanders when it fell, since they felt that it should go
to Guy of Beirut. They decided to raise the siege and draw Louis and Conrad
 The crusaders knew that the western part of the city, which they faced,
had been well fortified during their delay and the eastern part held open
for flight if that became necessary. Since the proximity of the great Moslem
armies now made it necessary to capture the city quickly; the council advocated
a shift in position. During the night of July 26 the new view of the situation
and the proposed change in tactics were discussed. Finally the crusaders,
whose belief in the experts must have been somewhat shaken by this time,
agreed to the plan, and on July 27 they advanced to the east. Here they found
themselves in a worse position than before, lacking water and with very little
food at hand, since they had counted on entering the city quickly. The 

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