The development of the Greek Revolution in west-central Greece and the southern regions of Epirus was closely connected to the Ottoman campaign against Ali Pasha. Armatole families of the mountainous regions of Arta, families such as the Souliotes, had allied with armed Albanians and conducted operations against the sultan's troops in Epirus. What the Souliotes expected from the alliance with their old enemy was their resettlement in Souli and in fact with the favourable terms which were in effect until their expulsion to the Ionian islands in 1803 and 1804. At the same period, in the beginning of 1821, the members of the Philiki Etaireia tried to organize the uprising in central Greece by mobilizing the numerous and powerful Rumeli armatoles. In a meeting at Agia Mavra (Lefkas), in which the most important armatoles and chieftains of Rumeli took part, it was decided that Varnakiotis would lead the revolution in west and Androutsos in east-central Greece. These were armatoles who took over the leadership because of their power, prestige, reputation and their position in the networks of armatoles in the greater region. The armatoles and chieftains of east-central Greece moved almost simultaneously with the Peloponnese. However, it seems that the belligerent state in Epirus effected the movements of the chieftains of west-central Greece. Finally, on 25 May 1821, the armatole Xiromero Georgakis and Varnakiotis issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of the region declaring the Revolution. In the previous days, the armatole Zygou D. Makris was the ringleader in the taking of Missolonghi and Anatoliko (Aitoliko). Soon the siege of Naupaktos and Vrachori (Agrinio), the administrative and military centre of west-central Greece began. The siege lasted until the beginning of June when the town was given up to the revolutionaries. At the same time the first Ottoman expedition to repress the uprising was being organized and Omer Vryoni was already taking action in east-central Greece. To the west Ismail Pasha Pliasha was ordered to march out from Arta.

Adopting a military tactic they knew well, that of ambush and klephtic warfare, the armed men of the mountainous regions neighbouring Arta (Valtos, Radovitsi, Tzoumerka) occupied the straits of Makrynoros, a region which connected Epirus with west-central Greece. There, Andreas Iskos, Gogos Bakolas, Giannakis Ragos, Georgios Karaiskakis and others fought many battles with the men of Ismail Pasha, inflicting losses on his army and forcing it to return to Arta. At the same time the Souliotes and their Albanian allies were conducting successful operations in Epirus. In fact, the alliance was extended in September with the participation of the klephts of Arta, Aitolia and Acarnania. Coordination action was decided upon and the taking of Arta was attempted unsuccessfully. However, toward the end of the year the Albanian chieftains dissolved the alliance, abandoned Ali Pasha and joined the sultan's side which had been reinforced with the arrival in the region of the notorious Mehmed Reshid Pasha, known as Kutahye. The massacre of the Muslims of Tripolitza contributed to this development. Moreover, Omer Vryoni who had returned from east-central Greece managed to win over the Albanian beys, but not the chieftains of Aitolia, Acarnania, Arta and Souli. They all withdrew from Arta but maintained their positions in Makrynoros in case of an Ottoman assault, which however, did not take place until the end of winter. Furthermore, the decline of Ali Pasha was still a top priority for the Sublime Porte.