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Battle of Azaz
|Battle of Azaz|
|Date||June 11, 1125|
Joscelin I of Edessa had captured Azaz in northern Syria from the atabeg of Aleppo in 1118. The next year the Crusaders under Roger of Salerno were severely defeated at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis, and Baldwin II of Jerusalem was captured while patrolling in Edessa in 1123. In 1124 Baldwin II was released, and almost immediately he began to besiege Aleppo in 1125. This caught the attention of il-Bursuqi , the Seljuk atabeg of Mosul.
Il-Bursuqi marched south to relieve the siege of Aleppo, forcing the Crusaders to retreat, and then besieged Zerdana in Edessan territory. Baldwin II, Joscelin I, and Pons of Tripoli, with a force of 1100 knights from their respective territories (including knights from Antioch, where Baldwin was regent), as well as 2000 other foot soldiers, met il-Bursuqi outside Azaz, where the Seljuk atabeg had gathered his much larger force. Baldwin pretended to retreat, thereby drawing the Seljuks away from Azaz into the open where they were surrounded. After a long and bloody battle, the Seljuks were defeated and their camp captured by Baldwin, who took enough loot to ransom the prisoners taken by the Seljuks (including the future Joscelin II of Edessa).
This victory allowed the Crusaders to regain much of the influence they had lost after their defeat at Ager Sanguinis in 1119. Baldwin planned to attack Aleppo as well, but Antioch, which passed to Bohemund II when he came of age in 1126, began to fight with Edessa and the plan fell through. Aleppo and Mosul were united under the much stronger ruler Zengi in 1128, and Crusader control of northern Syria began to dwindle.
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