The Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I was fought between the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire supported by the German Empire. It started with an Ottoman attempt at raiding the Suez Canal in 1915, and ended with the Armistice of Mudros in 1918, leading to the cession of Ottoman Syria and Palestine. Fighting began in January 1915, when a German-led Ottoman force invaded the Sinai Peninsula, then part of the British Protectorate of Egypt, to unsuccessfully raid the Suez Canal. After the Gallipoli Campaign, veterans from each side formed the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and the Fourth Army in Palestine, to fight for the Sinai Peninsula in 1916. During this campaign the Anzac Mounted Division and the 52nd (Lowland) Division succeeded in pushing German-led Ottoman Army units out of the area, beginning with the Battle of Romani and pursuit in August, the Battle of Magdhaba in December, and in January 1917 the newly formed Desert Column completed the recapture of the Sinai at the Battle of Rafa. These three victories, resulting in the recapture of substantial Egyptian territory, were followed in March and April, by two EEF defeats on Ottoman Empire territory, at the First and Second Battles of Gaza in southern Palestine. After a period of stalemate in Southern Palestine from April to October 1917, General Edmund Allenby captured Beersheba defended by the III Corps (which had fought at Gallipoli). Having weakened the Ottoman defences which had stretched almost continually from Gaza to Beersheba, they were finally captured by 8 November, after the Battle of Tel el Khuweilfe, the Battle of Hareira and Sheria and the Third Battle of Gaza, when the pursuit began. During the subsequent operations, about of formerly Ottoman territory, was captured as a result of the EEF victories at the Battle of Mughar Ridge, fought between 10 and 14 November, and the Battle of Jerusalem fought between 17 November and 30 December. Serious losses on the Western Front in March 1918 during Erich Ludendorff’s German Spring Offensive, forced the British Empire to send reinforcements from the EEF. During this time, two unsuccessful attacks were made to capture Amman and to capture Es Salt in March and April 1918, before Allenby’s force resumed the offensive during the manoeuvre warfare of the Battle of Megiddo. The successful infantry battles at Tulkarm and Tabsor created gaps in the Ottoman front line, allowing the pursuing Desert Mounted Corps to encircle the infantry fighting in the Judean Hills and fight the Battle of Nazareth and Battle of Samakh, capturing Afulah, Beisan, Jenin and Tiberias. In the process the EEF destroyed three Ottoman Armies during the Battle of Sharon, the Battle of Nablus and the Third Transjordan attack, capturing thousands of prisoners and large quantities of equipment. Damascus, and Aleppo were captured during the subsequent pursuit, before the Ottoman Empire agreed to the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, ending the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The British Mandate of Palestine, and the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon were created to administer the captured territories. The campaign was generally not well known or understood during the war. The English people thought of it as a minor operation, a waste of precious resources which would be better spent on the Western Front, while the peoples of India were more interested in the Mesopotamian campaign and the occupation of Baghdad. Australia did not have a war correspondent in the area until Captain Frank Hurley, the first Australian Official Photographer, arrived in August 1917 after visiting the Western Front. Henry Gullett, the first Official War Correspondent, arrived in November 1917. The long-lasting effect of this campaign was the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, when France won the mandate for Syria and Lebanon, while the British Empire won the mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine. The Republic of Turkey came into existence in 1923 after the Turkish War of Independence ended the Ottoman Empire. The European mandates ended with the formation of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932, the Lebanese Republic in 1943, the State of Israel in 1948, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946, and the Syrian Arab Republic in 1946.
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