Siege of Aintab
The Siege of Aintab (French: Les Quatres Sièges d'Aïntab) or Siege of Antep (Turkish: Antep Kuşatması) was a military engagement between the Turkish National Forces and the French Army of the Levant occupying the city of Aintab (present-day Gaziantep) during the Turkish War of Independence (specifically its southern front, known as the Franco-Turkish War).
Fighting began in April 1920, when French forces opened fire on city. Fighting continued until February 1921.
According to Ümit Kurt, born in modern-day Gaziantep and an academic at Harvard’s Center for Middle East Studies,
- “The famous battle of Aintab against the French … seems to have been as much the organised struggle of a group of genocide profiteers seeking to hold onto their loot as it was a fight against an occupying force. The resistance … sought to make it impossible for the Armenian repatriates to remain in their native towns, terrorising them [again] in order to make them flee. In short, not only did the local … landowners, industrialists and civil-military bureaucratic elites lead to the resistance movement, but they also financed it in order to cleanse Aintab of Armenians.”
- 1 - 16 April: 1st Turkish siege
- 30 April - 23 May: 2nd Turkish siege
- 30 May - 18 June: 1920 armistice
- 29 July - 10 August: 3rd Turkish siege
- 11 August: beginning of French siege
- 21 November - 18 December: Goubeau column participation
- 7 February: last exit attempt
- 8 February: sending of a city parliamentary mission - cease fire
- 9 February: capitulation
- 2.070 armed and 850 unarmed fighters (=2.920)
- In April 1920 the French forces consisted of 4,500 soldiers. With the arrival of Goubeau 4th division on November 20th 1920 the French siege force increased to: 13 infantry battalions and 1.5 cavalry regiment (=12,000 soldiers). After Goubeau's departure on December 18th the french force decreased to: 9 infantry battalions (four of which with less than 300 fighters) and 2 cavalry squadrons (=6500 soldiers). There are still 6000 men at the end of the siege
- On 29 October 1919 the third battalion and the staff of the French Armenian legion (lieutenant-colonel Flye Sainte-Marie) were the bulk of the hastily assembled French force assigned to relieve Aintab British garrison. On 13 November, the third battalion (except 2 machine gun platoons) left the city. On 30 April 1920, Flye Sainte-Marie and French Armenian legion last soldiers went away. The French Armenian legion was dissolved on 1 September 1920.
- Sabahattin Selek, Millî Mücadele II: İstiklâl Harbi (Yeni Türk Devletinin kuruluşu), p. 19.
- Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Western Society for French History, Volume 24, Western Society for French History, 1997, p. 206.
- Article about the Siege of Aintab haber7, Serkan Bilge, 25.12.2008
- "Gaziantep şehitlerinin anısı Savaş Müzesi'nde yaşatılıyor," Yeni Şafak, 14.08.2008 (in Turkish)
- Kilis'in Antep Müdafaasındaki Yeri, Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi (Atatürk Research Center): Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi Dergisi, Number 31, Edition: 11, March 1995 (in Turkish)
- Kerr, Stanley E. The Lions of Marash: Personal Experiences with American Near East Relief, 1919-1922. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1973, p. 222. ISBN 978-0-87395-200-2.
- Bir 'mecbur adam'ın romanı, Radikal, 08.01.2010 (in Turkish)
- Şimşir, Bilâl, İngiliz Belgelerinde Atatürk, 1919-1938, Volume 3, Istanbul: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, p. 168.
- Documents on British foreign policy, 1919-1939, London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1970, vol. 15, p. 155.
- Abadie.Opérations au Levant - Les 4 sièges d'Aïntab (1920-1921) Paris:Charles-Lavauzelle et Cie, 1922 (french).
- Gesar, A. "Agony of a City: The 314 Days of Aintab," Pts. 1-2, Armenian Review 30/2-3 (Summer-Autumn 1977): pp. 115-47, 265-81.
- Ümit Kurt, Destruction of Aintab Armenians and Emergence of the New Wealthy Class: Plunder of Armenian Wealth in Aintab (1890s-1920s), Ph.D. Dissertation, Clark University, Worcester, MA, Strassler Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 19 April 2016, quoted in Robert Fisk, "A beautiful mosque and the dark period of the Armenian genocide", The Independent, 15 October 2016
- Shepard, Dr. Lorin, "Fighting the Turks at Aintab," Current History 14/4 (July 1921).