Arwad; An Ottoman Island in the East Mediterranean and its Functions in the First World War
Ü. Gülsüm Polat
Keywords: Arwad Island, Ottoman Empire, France, First World War, espionage
Arwad (Ervad or Ruad) Island, which is situated in the Eastern Mediterranean hinterland of the Ottoman Empire, is a small island deprived of water resources and has a structure that is not suitable for agriculture. Arwad was occupied by French troops in August 1915, during the First world War. Under Ottoman rule, the majority of its residents were living on fishing, however it gradually became a center where spies were sent to collect intelligence due to its proximity to the mainland of Ottoman Empire. An intelligence center was established on the island and the French were able to collect crucial intelligence from the local spies. After the island was freed from Ottoman sovereignty the French looted some Ottoman vessels and there was a food shortage on the island. Arwad is a strategic point that the French occupied to ensure its dominance in Syria.