|634||Battle of Marj-ud-Deebaj (Battle of the Brocade)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A surprise Arab attack on the Byzantine refugees from Damascus||September 634|
|War & Enemy:||
Arab Conquest of Syria
|The Battlefield|| Location:
On a plateau over the An-Nusayriyah Mountains in Northwest Syria, close to Antioch and the Mediterranean sea
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Heraclius)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Thomas, Governor of Damascus||Khalid ibn al-Walid|
|Losses:||Many killed (incl. Thomas) or captured|
|Background story:||After the battle of Ajnadayn, the Arabs took easily all Palestine and most parts of Syria, including Damascus, after an one-month siege. The Byzantine commander Thomas, son-in-law of Emperor Heraclius, after hearing that Muslim troops had entered Damascus at the Eastern gate, wisely tricked the Muslim commanders at the other gates by suing for peace. After the trick was unveiled, the Muslim commanders advised Khalid ibn Walid that the peace agreement should be kept, because if the Greeks in Syria heard that the Muslims had given a guarantee of safety and then violated it, no other city would ever surrender easily to the Muslims, Khalid was not happy, but he agreed. So the Byzantine army and the Christians were allowed to leave the city together with their possessions with a deadline of 3 days to go as far as they can.|
After the deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry caught up to them, using an unknown shortcut, on a plateau over the An-Nusayriyah Mountains in Syria, not far from Antioch and the Mediterranean sea. The refugees, due to a heavy rain had spread on the plateau, seeking shelter, while their goods lay all over the place. So many items of brocade were scattered on the ground that the place became known as Marj-ud-Debaj (Meadow of Brocade).
The elite Arab cavalry attacked the unsuspected Greeks from 4 directions. Khalid personally killed Thomas in a duel. After some severe fighting in the middle of all those brocades, the Byzantine resistance collapsed. Since the Muslims were too few to completely surround the Byzantine army and the fighting had become confused as it increased in violence, many Byzantines were able to escape. But all the booty and a large number of captives, male and female, fell to the Muslims. The daughter of Heraclius, and widow of Thomas, was also taken captive.
|Noteworthy:||According to Muslim sources, Emperor Heraclius, sent an ambassador to Khalid asking his daughter back. She was liberated without ransom.|