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Mesopotamian campaign

Mesopotamian campaign, 1914–18. Following Turkey's entry into the First World War in November 1914, a small Anglo-Indian force landed in Mesopotamia. The purpose of the expedition was to protect the nearby Persian oilfields and to deny the Turks and their German allies access to the head of the Persian Gulf, from whence they might threaten British India. Encouraged by early victories, but inadequately supplied, the British advanced towards Baghdad, but were halted by the Turks in November 1915. A considerable British force was besieged at Kut and surrendered in April 1916. Prestige demanded that this defeat be avenged and in March 1917, with fresh troops and a new commander, the British finally occupied Baghdad. They then pressed slowly forward until, following an armistice with the Turks in October 1918, they had occupied the strategically important oilfields around Mosul in northern Mesopotamia.

David French

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