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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
(1969)

XVI: The career of Nur-ad-Din,   pp. 513-527 PDF (20.6 MB)


Page 518

518 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES I 
forces and the villages of the Ghütah were plundered by the undisciplined
followers of both sides. This attack on Damascus was the more pointed in
that the Egyptian vizir Ibn-as-Sallãr, perhaps taking NUr-ad-DIn's
protestations of a desire to relieve the growing pressure on Ascalon' at
their face value, had in May 1150 sent an embassy to him to arrange for a
joint attack on the Franks and had received his promise to participate. But
when, in the following spring, the Egyptian fleet attacked the Syrian coastal
towns from Jaffa to Tripoli, Nür-ad-Din remained inactive. 
 On the approach of the Franks in June, he withdrew to azZabadãni
and sent a squadron to the Hauran, which subsequently engaged the Franks
there and forced them to retire. He then resumed the siege of Damascus early
in July and cut off its supplies, but held firmly to his decision not to
engage in regular hostilities with its troops and citizens. Before the end
of the month a fresh agreement was reached between the parties, the negotiators
including ShirkUh on the one side and his brother Najm-ad-Din Aiyub on the
other. The agreement was duly ratified in October by a ceremonial visit of
the prince Abak to Aleppo, when he was formally recognized as NUr-ad-Din's
lieutenant in Damascus. 
 Even yet, however, Nür-ad-Din was not satisfied. The Darnascenes still
regarded themselves as bound by their treaty with Jerusalem, and the Yürük
Turkoman irregulars, with or without the knowledge or consent of Nür-ad-Din,
continued to operate in the districts of Damascus. In December 1151 they
inflicted heavy losses on the Frankish garrison of Banyas and were engaged
in consequence by the forces of Damascus; but Aiyub at Baalbek had almost
immediately to take measures against a reprisal raid by the Franks in the
Biqa~ valley. While NUr-ad-DIn, in the following spring, was engaged in the
north, where he seized Tortosa and Yalimur, Abak strengthened himself by
restoring his control over the Hauran, which had been shaken by the Turkomans.
 Early in 1153 Nur-ad-Din determined to exert his authority once more at
Damascus and .ordered Abak to join him with the whole of his regular forces
in order to relieve the pressure on Ascalon. The combined armies, after capturing
Aflis, marched to Banyas, where they split up in disorder and retired (May—June).
This was the last straw, and while the disorders broke out afresh in Damascus,
and Ascalon fell to the crusading armies, NUr-ad-DIn, encamped at Horns,
blockaded Damascus by preventing the passage of grain convoys. At the end
of March i i ~ Shirküh appeared before the city, but was met with hostility.
In April Nür 


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