The Defeat of Omayyads in Transoxiana
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On September 30, 737 AD, the Battle of the Baggage occurred in Central Asia, resulting in a humiliating defeat of the Omayyads at the hands of the Turgesh Turks, supported by both Iranian and Arab Muslims of Transoxiana. It marked the culmination of a string of defeats that started over the past 16 years for the tyrannical Omayyad regime before the outbreak of the Abbasid movement that threw them into the dustbin of history.
When the Omayyad governor of Khorasan, Asad Ibn Abdullah al-Qasri and his freshly arrived 20,000 Syrian troops tried to invade Khuttal in what it is now eastern Tajikistan, the people requested the non-Muslim Turks and the Chinese for help, in addition to urging the local Muslim population of both Iranians and Arabs to rise up.
The Turks led by Sulu attacked the Omayyads and as they tried to flee across the Oxus into what is now Afghanistan, they outpaced them to the river. The Omayyad army retreated in haste and managed to cross the Oxus, but the Turks crossed immediately after, seized the entire baggage and inflicted heavy casualties.
The failure of the campaign meant the end of Omayyad control over all Transoxiana including Samarqand their last stronghold. The losses suffered by the Syrians were of grave consequences, as the Syrian army was the main pillar of the Omayyad regime, which neither had the support of other Arabs nor Iranian Muslims.