« One key line of text specifying an important boundary of Arab influence in the Hussein-McMahon correspondence [leading to the Sykes-Picot Agreement] as not including areas lying west of "Homs, Aleppo, Hama, and Damascus" may have basically been an historical joke inserted in the text by Ronald Storrs. » https://goo.gl/9VNoHb
« In Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire he notes that after the First Crusade: "The four cities of Hems, Hamah, Damascus and Aleppo were the only relics of the Mohammedan conquests in Syria." So basically Storrs thought it would be cute to limit Arab influence to what it was during the crusades while alluding to Gibbon. None of the other British or Arab negotiators apparently picked up on the joke and the language stuck even though it was entirely non-sensical for the context it was being used in, and ended up causing enormous problems down the line. » ‎- Faruk Ahmet
«Marmorstein (who wrote before the archives were opened) argues that it was Sykes, with his romantic historical imagination, who hit upon the notion of confining the Arabs of Syria to Homs, Hama, Damascus and Aleppo because the Muslims had been similarly confined eight hundred years before. But Sykes was not in Cairo when Faruqi first arrived there and, as had been seen, when he did interview the latter Homs, Hama, Damascus and Aleppo were not mentioned at all. It is also unlikely that the pedestrian McMahon, the stolid Maxwell, or the unimaginative Clayton would have hit upon such a fanciful notion. Of those whom we know to have been intimately involved in the Arab negotiations, only Storrs can have been its author. Readers of his memoirs know how much Storrs prided himself on being more than a mere dull official, and what a parade he made of his profound cultivation and his rare erudition.» https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=v5EYwwyLkaQC&lpg=PA88&vq... ‎- Faruk Ahmet
Bonus: Storrs, when he was given the control of Palestine, said he was "the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate". ‎- Faruk Ahmet

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