|Battle of Hazir.|
|Part of the Muslim conquest of Syria|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Khalid ibn al-Walid||Menas†|
|17,000 (Arab sources)||70,000 (Arab sources)|
|Casualties and losses|
After the conquest of Jerusalem, Caliph Umar went back to his capital city of Madinah and following the Caliph's instructions, Yazeed proceeded to Caesarea and once again laid siege to the port city. Amr bin al-A’as and Sharhabeel marched to reoccupy Palestine and Jordan, which task was completed by the end of the year. Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and Khalid ibn Walid, with an army of 17,000 men, set off from Jerusalem to conquer all of northern Syria. Abu Ubaidah marched to Damascus, which was already in Muslim hands, and then to Emesa (Homs), which welcomed his return. His next objective was Qinnasrin, towards this, the army advanced with Khalid and the Mobile guard in the lead. After a few days the Mobile Guard reached Hazir, three miles east of Qinnasrin, here it was attacked in strength by the Byzantines. The Byzantine garrison commander at Qinnasrin was a general named Meenas, a distinguished soldier who was loved by his men. Meenas knew that if he stayed in Qinnasrin, he would be besieged by the Rashidun army and would eventually have to surrender, as he could expect no help from the Emperor. He therefore decided to take the offensive and attack the leading elements of the Rashidun army well forward of the city and defeat them before they could be joined by the main body. With this plan in mind, Meenas attacked the Mobile guard at Hazir with a force whose strength was about 70,000 men; he either did not know that Khalid was present with the leading elements of the Muslim army or did not believe all that he had heard about Khalid ibn Walid.
According to Peter Crawford, the numbers recorded for the subsequent Battle of Hazir are disputed. Due to the mass evacuation of Syria ordered by Heraclius, it would be surprising if Menas had even a tenth of this recorded figure, while it is somewhat unlikely Abu Ubayda and Khalid would have as many men as this with the detachment of the corps of Yazid, Shurahbil, and Amr.
The Battle began on a plain three miles east of Qinnasrin at Hazir, which was a farming village. Khalid deployed his Mobile guard into its fighting formation for battle. Meenas arranged his army in one center and two wings and was himself in the front ranks leading the army like Khalid. Soon a fierce action was raging at Hazir. The battle was still in its early stages when Meenas was killed. As the news of his death spread among his men, the Byzantine soldiers went wild with fury and savagely attacked to avenge their beloved leader's death. But they were up against the finest body of men of the time. Khalid took a cavalry regiment and manoeuvred from the side of one of the wings to attack the Byzantine army from the rear. Soon the whole army was encircled and their very desire for vengeance proved their undoing for not a single Roman survived the battle.
As soon as the battle was over, the people of Hazir came out of their town to greet Khalid. They pleaded that they were Arabs and had no intention of fighting him. Khalid accepted their surrender, and advanced to Qinnasrin.
At Qinnasrin, the part of the Roman garrison which had not accompanied Meenas to Hazir shut itself up in the fort. As soon as Khalid arrived, he sent a message to the garrison:
|“||"If you were in the clouds, Allah would raise us to you or lower you to us for battle."||”|
. Without further delay, Qinnasrin surrendered to Khalid. The Battle of Hazir and the surrender of Qinnasrin took place in about June, 637.
When Caliph Umar received reports of the Battle of Hazir, he made no attempt to conceal his admiration for the military genius of Khalid. Umar exclaimed:
|“||"Khalid is truly the commander, May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr. He was a better judge of men than I have been."||”|
This was Umar's first admission that perhaps he had not judged Khalid rightly after he had dismissed Khalid from the command of the Muslim army.
- Crawford 2013, p. 149.
- Tabari: Vol. 3, p. 98.
- A.I. Akram, The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns, Nat. Publishing. House, Rawalpindi (1970) ISBN 978-0-7101-0104-4.
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