HC Deb 06 July 1916 vol 83 cc1670-1
73. Sir J. JARDINE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to give any information as regards the Forces on the Euphrates line and the neighbouring deserts; and whether there has been a rising of the Arab population around Babylon and Kerbela against the domination of the Turks, partly caused by the Turks pillaging the shrine at Kerbela, which the Shia Mahomedans regard as holy?


It is, of course, undesirable to make public any information regarding the strength or dispositions of the British troops on the Euphrates line, or the intentions of our command in that quarter. Reports have been received that owing to local dissatisfaction with Turkish actions disturbances broke out at Kerbela about 22nd April and continued until 14th May, when a Turkish force sent from Bagdad attacked the inhabitants. The attack, however, failed, and the Turks were compelled to retire in the direction of Bagdad. During the fighting on 14th May the Turks are reported to have bombarded and seriously damaged the sacred domes of Kerbela. No report has been received of any rising of the Arabs near Babylon. Some irregular marauders have recently given us trouble both north and south of the Hamar Lake. These have been dealt with effectively, as announced in War Office communiqués issued to the Press on 16th June and 30th June.