Napoleon saw himself as a successor to Alexander the Great, who conquered Egypt and much of the middle East. He was also at war with Great Britain and an occupied Egypt meant he could obstruct British trade routes to its Indian possessions. After capturing Alexandria, Napoleon advanced towards Cairo. After two weeks he neared the pyramids, where 10,000 Egyptian warriors (Mamluks) were mobilized. On 21 July 1798, after an hour of intense fighting, Napoleon’s forces defeated the Mamluks. After a further campaign against the Mamluks, Bonaparte, restless for more victories, entered Syria in February 1799. After battling, and defeating, the Syrian- Ottoman forces at Damietta, El Arish, Jaffa, Gaza and Mount Tabor, the French forces were exhausted. The French siege of the walled city of Acre was an Ottoman victory and marked a turning point in the Egypt and Syria campaigns, compounded by 25 July French naval defeat at Aboukir.
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