The Info List - Franco-Syrian War

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French West Africa[1]

Arab Kingdom of Syria

Arab militias

Commanders and leaders

Henri Gouraud Mariano Goybet

King Faisal Yusuf al-'Azma † Arab militias:

Ibrahim Hananu[6] Subhi Barakat[6] Saleh al-Ali


70,000 men[1]

Casualties and losses

5,000 killed

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Franco–Syrian War


Syrian Coastal Mountains Aleppo Region Maysalun Damascus

The Franco-Syrian War
Franco-Syrian War
took place during 1920 between the Hashemite rulers of the newly established Arab Kingdom of Syria
Arab Kingdom of Syria
and France. During a series of engagements, which climaxed in the Battle of Maysalun, French forces defeated the forces of the Hashemite
monarch King Faisal, and his supporters, entering Damascus
on July 24, 1920. A new pro-French government was declared in Syria
on July 25, headed by 'Alaa al-Din al-Darubi.[7] and eventually Syria
was divided into several client states under the French Mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria
and Lebanon. The British government, concerned for their position in the new mandate in Iraq, agreed to declare the fugitive Faisal as the new king of Iraq.


1 Background 2 Warfare chronology

2.1 Countrywide revolts 2.2 Battle of Maysalun 2.3 Final stages

3 Aftermath 4 See also 5 Bibliography 6 References

Background[edit] Main articles: Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
and Al-Ali Revolt Near the end of World War I, the Egyptian Expeditionary forces of Edmund Allenby
Edmund Allenby
captured Damascus
on September 30, 1918, and shortly thereafter on October 3, 1918, Hashemite
ruler Faisal entered Damascus as well, in the final stages of the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
against the Ottomans. On October 5, 1919, with the permission of General Allenby, Faisal announced the establishment of an Arab constitutional government in Damascus. Following the implementation of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the occupied remnants of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
between France
and Britain, French military administration was established in the Levant. General Henri Gouraud was appointed as representative of the French government in the Middle East and commander of the French Army of the Levant, centered in Syria. While events transpired in Europe that would eventually render the Arab Kingdom of Syria
Arab Kingdom of Syria
into a French mandate, it would also catalyze Syrian nationalist societies like al-Fatat (the Young Arab Society) to make preparations for a national congress. These Syrian nationalist societies advocated complete independence for an Arab Kingdom, uniting the Arab world under the Hashemite
ruler Faisal. The first official session of the Syrian Congress was held on June 3, 1919 and al-Fatat member Hashim al-Atassi
Hashim al-Atassi
was elected its president.[8] On June 25, the King-Crane Commission arrived in Damascus
to a flurry of leaflets which said “Independence or Death”. On July 2, 1919, the Syrian Congress passed a number of resolutions pertaining to the formation of Syria
as a completely independent constitutional monarchy with Faisal as king, asking for assistance from the United States, and the refusal of any rights claimed by the French.[8] The hopes of Faisal that either the British or Americans would come to his aid and intervene against the French quickly faded with what many consider the defining catalyst for the creation and destruction of the Arab Kingdom of Syria: the Anglo-French Agreement. The Anglo-French Agreement provided for the withdrawal of British troops from Syria
and signaled the end of the British military involvement in Syria. Eventually, Faisal would be forced into negotiations with Clemenceau in January 1920 which stipulated that the French would uphold the existence of the Syrian state and would not station troops in Syria
as long as the French government remained the only government supplying advisers, counselors and technical experts.[9] News of this compromise did not bode well with Faisal’s vehemently anti-French and independence minded supporters who immediately pressured Faisal to reverse his commitment to France, which he did. Warfare chronology[edit] Countrywide revolts[edit]

Map of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, declared on 8 March 1920

See also: Hananu Revolt
Hananu Revolt
and Alawite Revolt of 1919 In the aftermath of the Clemenceau negotiations in January 1920, violent attacks against French forces occurred sporadically across Syria
and effectively the Syrian Congress assembled in March 1920 to declare Faisal the king of Syria, as well as to officially set up the Arab Kingdom of Syria
Arab Kingdom of Syria
with Hashim al-Atassi
Hashim al-Atassi
as Prime Minister. An independent Arab Kingdom of Syria
Arab Kingdom of Syria
was proclaimed in Damascus
on March 8, 1920, in an apparent dispute with the French over the nature of its rule. This action was immediately repudiated by the British and French and the San Remo Conference
San Remo Conference
was called together by the League of Nations in April 1920 to explicitly establish the mandate of the French over Syria. Shortly, the war of Syrian Arab nationalists with the French became a devastating campaign for the new proclaimed Arab Kingdom of Syria. Several violent incidents in the region initiated by Arab militias, like the Battle of Tel Hai, led to further international support of the French. The League of Nations
League of Nations
having given the French Mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria
as planned, the French General Gouraud issued an ultimatum to the Syrian government to disband its troops and submit to French control. Worried about the results of a long bloody fight with the French, King Faisal himself surrendered on July 14, 1920,[8] but his message would not reach the general and King Faisal’s defense minister Yusuf al-'Azma, who ignoring the King, led an army to Maysalun to defend Syrian Arab Kingdom from French advance. The Hashemite
government of Damascus submitted reluctantly to the French ultimatum and disbanded its troops. Battle of Maysalun[edit] Main article: Battle of Maysalun In spite of King Faisal's acceptance of France's ultimatum, Yusuf al-'Azma refused to give in. He raised a small body of disbanded troops and civilians, poorly armed relative to the modern, well-equipped professional French Army, and led them to Maysalun. Although he had no illusions about the outcome of the battle, al-'Azma wanted to make it clear that Syria
would not surrender without fighting, in order to deny the French occupation any legitimacy. The Battle of Maysalun
Battle of Maysalun
resulted in a crushing Syrian defeat. The French forces under the command of General Mariano Goybet
Mariano Goybet
easily defeated the Syrian forces. Yusuf al-'Azma
Yusuf al-'Azma
was killed in the battle. Final stages[edit]

Award to French veterans - the Cilicia Levant medal law 18 July 1922

Main article: Siege of Damascus
(1920) The final stage of the war took place on July 24, 1920,[citation needed] when the French forces entered Damascus
without any resistance. The next day, the Arab Kingdom of Syria
Arab Kingdom of Syria
was abolished, and French rule officially reinstalled. Aftermath[edit] Main article: French Mandate for Syria
and the Lebanon 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. They were the states of Damascus
(1920), State of Aleppo
State of Aleppo
(1920), Alawite State (1920), Jabal Druze (1921), the autonomous Sanjak of Alexandretta (1921) (modern-day Hatay) and the State of Greater Lebanon (1920), which became later the modern country of Lebanon. See also[edit]

Syrian Revolution Sultan al-Atrash List of modern conflicts in the Middle East


Occupation 1919-1920


^ a b Caroline Camille Attié: Struggle in the Levant: Lebanon in the 1950s, I.B.Tauris, 2004, ISBN 1860644678, page 15-16. ^ "The Franco-Syrian War
Franco-Syrian War
of 1920 Participants: France
vs. Syrians Dates: March, 1920, to August 7, 1920 Battle-Related Deaths: France—3,500; Syria—unknown; Where Fought: Middle East Initiator: France." [1] ^ Peretz "In the meantime in 1919 Faisal's Arab force began to clash with French troops. In March 1920, the Syrian congress in Damascus directly challenged France
by proclaiming Syria- including Lebanon, Palestine and Transjordan - independent and offering Faisal the crown... both sides immediately began to prepare for war." [2] ^ Benny Morris. Victims. the date of the first attack of Arabs against French interest on March, 1st. ^ Tom Segev in One Palestine. Complete. the date of the first attack of Arabs against French interest on March, 1st. ^ a b Tauber E. The Formation of Modern Syria
and Iraq. p.22 ^ Eliezer Tauber The Formation of Modern Syria
and Iraq. p.37 ^ a b c Eliezer Tauber. The Formation of Modern Syria
and Iraq. Frank Cass and Co. Ltd. Portland, Oregon. 1995. ^ Elie Kedourie. England and the Middle East: The Destruction of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
1914-1921. Mansell Publishing Limited. London, England. 1987.

v t e

French Mandate of Syria


State of Syria

State of Aleppo State of Damascus Al-Jazira Province

Jabal Druze State Alawite State Sanjak of Alexandretta Greater Lebanon


1919 revolt Franco-Syrian War

Battle of Maysalun

1925–1927 revolt

Capture of Salkhad Battle of al-Kafr Battle of al-Mazraa Battle of al-Musayfirah 1925 Hama uprising

1936 general strike Syria–Lebanon Campaign Levant Crisis


Sykes–Picot Agreement
Sykes–Picot Agreement
(1916) Paulet–Newcombe Agreement
Paulet–Newcombe Agreement
(1920) Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence
Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence



Hashim al-Atassi Shukri al-Quwatli Khalid al-Azm Jamil Mardam Bey Sultan al-Atrash Yusuf al-'Azma Ibrahim Hananu Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar


French High Commissioner Charles de Gaulle Henri Gouraud

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