For thirteen days a cannonade of the town was continued without effect; and on the 20th of April, news having come in from the advanced guard at Hamad of large reinforcements to the besieged, General Stewart was compelled to retreat; and a dragoon was despatched to Lieutenant-colonel Macleod, commanding at Hamad, with orders to fall back.
This tract, known as the Hamad, is a Syrian gravelly plain unbroken by any considerable range of hills desert.
Below the average level of the Hamad, crosses it from north-east to south-west between Hauran and Jauf; it has a nearly uniform height above sea-level of 1850 ft., and appears to be the bed of an inland sea rather than a true watercourse.
Though almost waterless, it is in fact better wooded and richer in pasture than any part of the Hamad; the sand-hills are dotted with ghada, a species of tamarisk, and other bushes, and several grasses and succulent plants - among them the adar, on which sheep are said to feed for a month without requiring water - are found in abundance in good seasons.
SYRIA, the name given generally to the land lying between the easternmost shore of the Levantine Gulf and a natural inland boundary formed in part by the Middle Euphrates and in part by the western edge of the Hamad or desert steppe.