The Syrian Protestant College and the Great War (1914-18) > 1918 > The End of the War

 

 

General Allenby had attempted, on two separate rounds, to defeat the Ottoman army in Palestine: in October 1917, and then again in September 1918, he opened up a front that enclosed the coast of Palestine all the way to the Jordan River. The famous battle of Megiddo, September 19 to 21, 1918, allowed Allenby to forge forward, and to pave the way for the Arab forces to capture Damascus.

 

Battle of Megiddo,  1918
Battle of Megiddo which ended the war on the East Front, 1918 , WWI Photo Album, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

 

 

Damascus was captured by the Arab Forces on October 1st: the signing of the Armistice by the Ottoman Empire at  Mudros followed shorlty on October, 30, 1918. The signing of the Armistice of Mudros marked a new era for the Arab population in Greater Syria and Damascus. The French authorities were now in charge of Greater Syria.

 

 

Irregular Arab troops in Damascus, October 1918
Arab troops in Damascus, October 1918, World War I Photo Album,  Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

 

 

 

After the retreat of the Ottoman forces from Syria and the capture of Damascus by the Arab Troops, several general announcements "Bayān ʻUmūmī" were distributed throughout Greater Syria. The Bayān ʻUmūmi featured here was distributed by  the newly appointed Prime Minister of the Arab Government in Beirut, Mr. Omar el-Daouk Bey, on 24 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 1336, [1 Oct. 1918]. It announced new regulations for the public administration of Beirut and assigned several prominent personalities to different governmental positions.

 

 

 

Bayan Oumoumi from Omar Daouk Beirut Mayor, October 1, 1918
Bayān ʻUmūmī from Omar Daouk Beirut Mayor, October 1, 1918, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

 

 Following the signing of the Armistice of Mudros, and the eventual capitulation of the Turkish troops,  the Syrian population was now faced with the amount of damage and destruction the War had caused at all levels: a tragedy of particular dimensions was revealed: hundreds of Armenians were killed, and orphans, whose parents were annihilated through the Armenian genocide, were now housed at various orphanages in the region. One such orphanage, cared for by Halide Edib Khanum, a remarkable and outspoken Turkish educator and feminist, was set in Aintoura. It housed some 750 orphans (mostly Armenian, some Kurdish,e tc.). The sample photos of the Aintoura orphanage album featured here, show Jamal Pasha and some Ottoman officials posing with Halide Edib Khanum, as well as children in their classroom. The photo album was sent to President Dodge as a token of appreciation for the help he extended to the orphanage following the retreat of the Ottoman Officials.

Jamal Pasha at the Aintoura Orphanage, 1916-1918
Jamal Pasha with Ms. Helide Edib at the Antoura Orphanage, 1916-1918; Antoura Orphanage Photo Album,  Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library. AUB

Upon the request of Helide Edib Khanum, who was concerned about the fate of the orphans, President Dodge drove out to Aintoura. When he arrived to Aintoura, Mr. Dodge found scarce provisions (a single bag of flour was left), damaged ceilings and walls (a sharp earthquake had just hit the area), and dispirited teachers and staff (who had not been paid for at least three months). The next day, and at the plea of Bayard Dodge, a French civilian officer, who was in charge of the area, gave an order for flour and supplies to be immediately sent to Aintoura.

Early in October, when the American Red Cross established itself in Beirut, it took over full responsibility of the Aintoura Orphanage. Professor J. Stewart Crawford from SPC was released from his duties to assume the Directorship of the Orphanage.

Aintoura Orphanage Classroom, 1916-1918
Children in Class at the Antoura Orphanage, 1916-1918; Antoura Orphanage Photo Album,  Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library. AUB

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