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The harsh years of World War I, installed dreadful images of brutal massacres and deportations in the collective memory of the Armenian nation. Yet, little is known, or at least remembered, of the Armenian Legion (or the Legion d’Orient, as it was known), which served under French and British flags and contributed to the victory of the Allied forces, particularly in the Levant. This paper provides an overview of the history of the Armenian Legion, from its establishment in 1916 until the Battle of Arara in 1918. Using official French, British and Armenian documents, this paper first reviews the formative period of the Legion, and its important contribution to the Levantine campaigns conducted by the Entente forces during the War; second, it analyzes the formation of the Armenian Legion in light of the geopolitical negotiations among the Entente powers and argues that far from being a military desideratum, the establishment of the Armenian Legion was an ad hoc imperial tool which the Entente Powers created during the War to perpetuate their political agenda and colonial interests in the Near East.

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