By mid-March the Sultanate had begun a frontal assault on Elazig's southwestern perimeter. Unable to withstand this renewed attack, General Zafer Erul took matters into his own hands as the only surviving member of the assembly and ordered a retreat. By this point, the relentless Sultanate pressure had already caused confusion and panic along many sectors of the Elazigi defense line, with many of the troops withdrawing to wrong locations in disorder due to a series of miscommunications. Elazig was by this point completely surrounded on three sides; the rest of the state except for its eastern and far southern boundaries had fallen. The established Turkish troops were also repelling valiant attempts by the defenders to break the pressure, resulting in costly firefights. The Turkish tanks also attacked the southern perimeter of the city, which was defended by a combination of volunteers and mercenaries. The defenders quickly improvised two roadblocks fitted with hastily strung barbed wire, using wrecked cars and anti-tank mines to deter the Sultanate's advance. By nightfall of March 19, Turkish soldiers had overrun this position through sheer numbers and the defense began to cave in. A spirited counterattack by Elazigi troops failed and was repulsed with heavy artillery bombardment of the city.
On March 21, an isolated battle took place to the east of Elazig, where Sultanate troops attempting to encircle the city met stiff resistance by a Elazigi Infantry Battalion and the Devlet Guard. The defenders were driven back after two hours of fighting, the survivors were cut off from the city
and fled into the countryside. With no rations or discipline, the Devlet Guard, already demoralized and exhausted from the fighting, plundered local villages on Elazig's eastern borders for supplies. The guardsmen were soon reduced to a lawless band of deserters, stealing and robbing soldiers on both sides and civilians alike for food and valuables. A Turkish unit was dispatched in hopes of engaging them and catching the principal efforts, but this only led to fresh bloodshed and destruction.