Arabia Declares Independence from Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) and Establishes the Kingdom of Hejazi
Arab Forces, 40,000
Emir Fei sal
Turkish Forces, 10,000
While the British troops were engaged with the Turks in Mesopotamia and Palestine, the Arabs seized the opportunity to throw off the hated Turkish yoke. Simultaneous uprisings took place in the Hedjaz district of Arabia. The leader in this revolt was Hussein-ibn-Ali, Grand Sherif of Mecca, and the most powerful prince of Western and Central Arabia. As hereditary keeper of the Holy Places and head of the tribe of the Prophet, he was regarded with reverence by the Arabs.
Hussein, on June 5, 1916, proclaimed the independence of Arabia at Mecca. The populace greeted the announcement with cheers, but the Turkish garrison rejected his summons to surrender, opening fire on the Great Mosque with heavy artillery. Rallying the loyal Arabs to his standard, Hussein overcame the resistance of the Turkish garrison, compelling their surrender on June 13, 1916, and taking 1100 prisoners.
Hussein-ibn-Ali, after the seizure of Mecca, divided his forces—horse, camel, and foot—into four columns. One party remained to guard Mecca; a second, under Emir Feisal, advanced toward Medina; a third, under Emir Abdullah, proceeded south toward Taif, and the fourth, under Emir Zeid, went westward to Jedda. The fires of revolt spread northward among the Arabs all the way to Damascus. Emir Nuri Shalan and the Said Idrissi of Asia joined forces with Hussein. In quick succession, the rebels seized the port of Kun- fidah, on the Red Sea, and Yambo, the port of Medina. Medina itself was besieged and a large section of the railway near El Ala was torn up, delaying the arrival of Turkish reinforcements from Damascus.
A pitched battle between the Turks and Arabs was fought in the plain south of Medina in August, the Turks losing 2,000 and the Arabs 500. Retreating to Medina, the Turkish soldiers wreaked vengeance on the inhabitants, many of whom they crucified, hanged or otherwise tortured.
In September, the Arabs captured the Turkish headquarters at Taif, compelling the surrender of Khaleb Pasha, the Commander-in-Chief. At the close of the year the Turks had been driven out of every part of the Hedjaz excepting a strip of territory adjacent to the railway leading from Mecca to Eastern Palestine and Damascus. Meanwhile, the Arabs co-operated with the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force and continued to do so till the end of the War. The Kingdom of Hedjaz was proclaimed with Hussein as its King. It was promptly recognized by the Entente Powers. Thus the birthplace of the Islamic faith was recovered after centuries of subordination to the Turks.
Ottoman Empire dealt with the Arab Revolt. Sharif Hussein ibn Ali rebelled against the Ottoman rule during the Arab Revolt of 1916. An exchange of letters with British High Commissioner Henry McMahon convinced him that his assistance on the side of the Triple Entente would be rewarded by an Arab empire encompassing the entire span between Egypt and Persia, with the exception of imperial possessions and interests in Kuwait, Aden, and the Syrian coast. Hussein was the official leader of the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans.
The Arab Revolt (1916–1918) (Arabic: الثورة العربية Al-Thawra al-`Arabīya) (Turkish: 'Arap İsyanları') was initiated by the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.