After crossing the desert, Ali and his troops pushed on Al-Raqqa on the left bank of the Euphrates, here they had to cross the river. They asked the people of Al-Raqqa to provide them boats and build a bridge of boats for them. The people of Al Raqqa said that in the war between the Muslim people they would remain neutral and as such they could not construct the bridge for them. Thereupon Malik Ashtar the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of Ali challenged the people of Al-Raqqa that unless they provided the necessary boats and constructed the bridge for them, he would declare war against them, and order their massacre. The people of Al-Raqqa consulted among themselves and ultimately agreed to construct the bridge of boats for the army of Ali to cross the river.
After crossing the river, the troops of Ali advanced along the right bank of the river in the direction of Aleppo. Here they came across the Syrian vanguard. The Syrians did not risk a skirmish with the forces of Ali and withdrew precipitately.
At Sur-Rum, along the borders of Syria, the Alid forces had a skirmish with the Syrian guards. The Syrians suffered defeat and retreated. Thereafter the forces of Ali reached the plain of Siffin, where they found the Syrian forces under Muawiyah drawn up in strength and waiting for them.