An Anglo-British force in the Mesopotamian town of Kut-al-Amara is under siege by the Turks. British attempts to raise the siege have failed. Now Halil Bey, the Turkish commander, sends a messenger to the British under flag of truce. His message to General Townshend, the British commander, is a simple one. The situation of the British in Kut is hopeless, Halil Bey says, so Townshend should end the pointless suffering of his men by surrendering now.
Townshend rejects Halil Bey’s call to surrender. But his situation is indeed increasingly desperate. He sends a wireless message to his superiors, saying that the garrison’s food supplies will be exhausted by mid-April. He requests permission to begin surrender negotiations at that point if the relief force has not made it to him.