|Tomb of Khalid in Homs|
There are several narratives of the early Islamic conquests and sorting out their contradictions is a challenge to historians, something I have tried myself on occasion without ever publishing the results. but all the sources agree that Khalid was a major contributor to the military successes against both the Persian and Byzantine forces, playing crucial roles in the conquests of both Iraq and Syria.
Khalid showed his military prowess even before conversion to Islam, fighting with the Meccan forces against the Muslims in the Battle of Uhud, which the Meccans won. After his conversion he led Muslim armies in the ridda wars in Arabia and in the campaign to conquer Iraq from the Sassanian Persian Empire. Then he crossed the desert from Iraq to Syria and fought in the campaigns in Syria. He was involved in the Battle of the Yarmuk and the conquest of Damascus, Homs (without a siege), and other cities. Eventually dismissed from service by the Caliph ‘Umar,he went into loyal retirement and died four years later, in 642 AD. He had settled in Homs, and was buried there.
Homs is sometimes said to have been the first city in Syria to be majority Muslim after the conquests, and it, and Hama up the road, are still centers of Sunni piety or, some would argue, radicalism.