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Historical Facts

The French Mandate

What Is?

The French Mandate for Syria started in 1920, shortly after the expulsion of the Ottomans in 1918.

After 400 years of Ottoman occupation, France and Britain had made plans to divide the Levant among themselves.

This took the form of a “Mandate” by which Syria and Lebanon were subjected to France’s control.

The French Mandate ended in 1945 after years of struggles by the Syrians to gain independence, struggles that saw large parts of Damascus Old City get burned down to the ground.

The French Invasion of Syria

The French Invasion of Syria

In July 1920, the French Army of the Levant fully equipped with warplanes and tanks faced off fierce resistance from a small Syrian force and invaded the newly independent country of Syria. General Henri Gouraud the French army commander is seen in this photo inspecting his army before clashing with the Syrian forces lead by Youssef Al-Azmeh, the Syrian minister of defence at the time, who was martyred in the battle.