Ottoman authorities exploits sectarian differences to subdue Karbala (Part II)
According to several historical sources, the Ottoman occupation authorities led by the local governor "Mohammad Najib Pasha", have brought in large military forces to besiege the holy city of Karbala under the pretext of the jurisprudential differences between a number of its religious schools, but the city's elders and scholars were at the forefront of the resistance against the invading forces.
Those forces consisted of three infantry battalions and an additional battalion of Indian "Sapah" soldiers, reinforced by 20 cannons and some Kurdish fighters who were summoned by the Ottoman governor from the regions of Iraq's Kurdistan under the command of "Ahmed Pasha Baban". The foreign forces were able eventually to besiege the entire city on the 13th of the Islamic month of Thu Al-Qa'da, 1258 Hijri, (December 19, 1842 AD), and to trap its inhabitants in a way that forced them to drink wells water, and to scrimp their supplies of food for twenty-three days (1).
In spite of the large difference in the number and ammunition between the invading forces and the civilian population, the city's leaders gathered at the holy shrine of Imam Hussein and his brother Abbas "peace be upon them", had ordered to evacuate whatever they could among families through the side doors in the Karbala's wall, and to call for carrying arms.
After that, vicious battles were started at the outskirts of Karbala, as the occupation forces used heavy artillery, until they eventually invaded the holy city, and committed massive massacres among its inhabitants, including women and children who were hiding in the two holy shrines.
- Taskhir Karbala: by Sayyid. Abdul Razzaq al-Hassani, The series of publication of Karbala Center for Studies and Research Publications.