The Armenians in Van have been under siege for over a month. The Turks have been unable to storm the eastern Anatolian town but have tried to starve out the Armenian rebels. They have also killed and abused many Armenians living in the countryside around the town.
Russian forces are marching to relieve Van. They are not here yet, but they are getting close. The Turks besieging Van have no desire to be caught by the superior Russian column. So now they slip away from Van under cover of darkness. As day breaks the Armenians realise that the siege is over. Their situation is still desperate, however, as they are short of food and urgently need the supplies the Russian army is bringing to them.