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Built by the Mazoir Crusader dynasty, the castle was in the late 12C sold to the Hospitallers, an order of monastic knights who reinforced it, creating a formidable bastion that withstood the onslaught of Saladin, the Crusaders' arch-enemy. It finally fell to Mamluk sultan Qalaoun, 14 years after the surrender of Krak des Chevaliers, as it waited in vain for reinforcements. Its site on the western flanks of Jebel Ansariyeh, looking towards the sea, made it a key coastal surveillance point.

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