Toward the end of 1916, the British strategy of defense in the Suez Canal evolved into one of offense and the General Command in Egypt decided to occupy the east of the canal to move toward Palestine. After long battles and heavy losses, the British troops captured and fortified the Sinai Desert and were able to reach almost to Gaza, which was considered the gate to Jerusalem. They had to retreat two times with heavy losses. However, they did not abandon their aims and began preparations for a third attack against Gaza. The Ottoman army in Syria under Cemal Pasha’s command managed to

defend the Gaza front successfully during the first two British attacks. However, while the preparations were underway for a third battle in Gaza, the situation of the Palestine front was fundamentally changed with the outbreak of the revolution in Russia and with the capture of Baghdad by British troops on 11 March 1917. The drastic change in Russia and the relocation of British troops in Salonika to Egypt freed up Ottoman troops on the eastern and western fronts in Anatolia and enabled the Ottoman headquarters to use these troops on other fronts. As a result, the only fronts where battles continued in the Ottoman lands were in Syria and Iraq. All these developments diverted Enver Pasha’s interest toward the recapture of Baghdad and, without losing any time, he commenced preparations to recapture the city.1 Due to problems in railroad transportation and the telegraph network, communication between the headquarters and the army’s commanderships in these regions presented some difficulties. For that reason, before arriving at the idea of the Yıldırım Army Groups taking Baghdad back, Enver contemplated moving his headquarters to Aleppo to improve communication with these fronts.2 He kept this idea in mind even after the creation of the Yıldırım corps until the eve of the capture of Jerusalem by the British troops. In one of his telegrams to Talat in the middle of November 1917, while he was in Syria, Enver mentioned his plan to move his headquarters to Aleppo within 15 or 20 days.3