After two victories at Alacadağ and Dereboynu, the numerically superior Russian army continued to advance further east into Anatolia. In order to improve the Ottoman defensive situation, Müşir(Field Marshal)Ahmed Muhtar Pasha withdrew his forces to Erzurum. Muhtar Pasha had about 30,000 troops (mainly local militia) under his command and faced a Russian force of approximately 120,000 under the command of General Mikhail Loris-Melikov. After surrounding the city, the Russian force besieged it for two days. Due to stiff Ottoman resistance, Melikov decided to withdraw his army and instead attack Kars, which he succeeded in capturing. Muhtar Pasha requested reinforcements from Constantinople but was unable to receive any. After this he withdrew his forces to Bayburt for the remainder of the war. Ahmed Muhtar Pasha was awarded the title Gazi due to his victories at Erzurum, Gedikler and Yahniler.