Lakesh is a Cardassian colony planet located in the Crolsa system. Prior to the Dominion War, the planet boasted a population of 3.5 million Cardassians. Due to the Cardassian rebellion against the Dominion at the end of the war, a taskforce of Breen warships allied to the Dominion carried out retaliatory orbital bombardment against the civilian population. Some 2.5 million inhabitants of Lakesh perished in the attack. (Star Trek: Gibraltar)
In the following months, Lakesh became a hotbed of Cardassian insurgent activity, due primarily to the presence of a secret Dominion weapons research laboratory hidden beneath the surface. Access to advanced weaponry gave the Crimson Shadow insurgent group, under the leadership of Legate Mintoff Urlak, the ability to carry out destructive attacks against Starfleet and civilian personnel involved in humanitarian relief operations on Lakesh.
In early March of 2376, Crimson Shadow attacks resulted in the destruction of the Federation starships Sojourner and Phoenix. The arrival of Klingon occupational forces under the command of General K'Vada forced with withdrawal of the starship USS Gibraltar (NCC-1859), leading Starfleet Command to cede control of the Crolsa system to Klingon forces