State of Syria (1925–1930)
In 1920, an independent Arab Kingdom of Syria
was established under King Faisal
of the Hashemite
family, who later became the King of Iraq
. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the clash between his Syrian Arab forces and regular French forces at the Battle of Maysalun
. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the League of Nations
put Syria under French mandate.
History of Syria under the Mandate
Initial civil administration
Following the San Remo conference
and the defeat of King Faisal
's short-lived monarchy in Syria at the Battle of Maysalun
, the French general Henri Gouraud
established civil administration in the territory. The mandate region was subdivided into six states. The drawing of those states was based in part on the sectarian make up on the ground in Syria. However, nearly all the Syrian sects were hostile to the French mandate and to the division it created.
The primarily Sunni population of Aleppo and Damascus were strongly opposed to the division of Syria.
Syrian Federation (1922–24)
Arrete No. 1459, which created the Federation of the Autonomous States of Syria, 28 June 1922
Map showing the states of the French Mandate from 1921 to 1922
On 28 June 1922, the Syrian Federation
was created between three of the states: the State of Damascus
, the State of Aleppo
and the Alawite State
. Jabal Druze and Greater Lebanon were not parts of this federation. The autonomous Sanjak of Alexandretta
was added to the state of Aleppo in 1923. The Federation adopted a new federal flag (green-white-green with French canton), which later became the flag of the State of Syria.
State of Syria
Arrete No 2980, which created the State of Syria, 5 December 1924
The Alawite state seceded from the federation in 1924. The states of Aleppo and Damascus were united into the State of Syria, with effect on 1 January 1925.
The revolt broke out in Jabal Druze but quickly spread to other Syrian states and became a general rebellion in Syria. France tried to retaliate by having the parliament of Aleppo declare secession from the union with Damascus, but the voting was foiled by Syrian patriots.
Despite French attempts to maintain control by encouraging sectarian divisions and isolating urban and rural areas, the revolt spread from the countryside and united Syrian Druze, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawis, and Christians. Once the rebel forces had besieged Damascus, the French military responded with brutal counter-insurgency techniques that prefigured those that would be used later in Algeria and Indo-China. These techniques included house demolitions, collective punishments
of towns, executions, population transfers, and the use of heavy armor in urban neighborhoods. The revolt was eventually subdued in 1926-27 via French aerial bombardment of civilian areas, including Damascus.
Republic of Syria
On May 14, 1930, the State of Syria was declared the Republic of Syria and a new constitution was drafted.
While the State enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy as a Mandate, France exercised significant authority over the government. The revolt that began in Jabal Druze led to France easing their hold on Syria and a constitution was drafted but not ratified by the French Chamber of Duties, and the coming of World War II stopped any progress in Syrian self-determination.
Under French administration, the University of Damascus
, known then as Syrian University was established in 1923, teaching in Arabic. It was the first university to be founded in Syria, being established through the merger of the School of Medicine and the Institute of Law, founded 1903 and 1913 respectively during the Ottoman era
- ^ Michael Provence. The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism. University of Texas, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005.
- ^ Peter Mansfield (1991). A History of the Middle East. p. 199.
Last edited on 18 April 2021, at 12:09
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