HC Deb 17 June 1920 vol 130 cc1467-8W
Brigadier-General SURTEES

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has received any confirmaton of the reported attack of Sheriffian Arabs in Mesopotamia wherein a couple of British officers were killed and a number of men were killed and wounded; if the facts are as stated; whether the Arabs who made the attack were isolated tribesmen or men who owe allegiance to the rulers we or the India Office have been subsidising; and what steps he proposes to take to vindicate British authority and to secure order for the immediate future?


I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply on Tuesday last to the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore). The term "Sheriffian" has been applied to the officers who led the attack on Tel Afar, but this expression may not be strictly accurate. Emir Feisal, the son of the Sherif of Mecca, has given repeated assurances that any officers of the Sheriffian Army who took part in these raids would be repudiated by him. It seems more probable that the anti-British hostility of the Arabs on the Euphrates is inspired rather by the Young Arab party at Damascus than by the representatives of the Sheriffian family, who at least profess their desire to retain the friendship of His Majesty's Government. As regards the last part of the question, a punitive column is now operating in the Tel Afar district and the General Officer Commanding in Mesopotamia is taking the necessary action to secure the restoration of order.