Aware of the morale of the Greek army, from May 1922 the Turks began to contemplate the likelihood of an offensive against the Greek army.

In July, information about the transport of troops to Thrace and rumours concerning the imminent withdrawal of the Greek army from the zone of the Treaty of Sevres encouraged Kemal and his councillors to precipitate the offensive, which was planned for 13 August.

Indeed, after a series of misleading aggressive acts on 6 and 11 August and while the Greek Administration, underestimating the information it had for the scheduled offensive, did not take appropriate measures, on the dawn of 13 August the Turkish offfensive was launched with severe bombardment. During the following days the Greek forces split and began to retreat towards the coast. The army was accompanied by Greeks and Armenians from the areas left in the hands of the Turks.

The 1st and 2nd Army Corps divisions, some still well organized, some disorderly, reached the Chesme, where until 3 September they embarked for the islands. Nikolaos Plastiras' detatchment was appointed as rear guard, reinforced by the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, having the command to retard enemy advances.
The Independent Division effected a real feat, covering 600 kilometeres in 15 days in hostile land and being constantly hit by the Turkish cavalry and inhabitants. Despite these hardships it reached Dikeli, saving the Greeks and the Armenians of the area and on 31 August was conveyed to Mytilene. Lastly, the 3rd Army Corps managed to reach the ports of Panormos and Cyzikos and embark in order.
There were many casualties in the campaign, while the fate of the soldiers that fell to the hands of the Turks was tragic.