Shukri al Kuwatli

Kuwatli, Shukri al

 

Born 1891, in Damascus; died June 30, 1967, in Beirut. Syrian statesman and politician.

From 1908 to 1915, Kuwatli was one of the leaders of the Young Arabia society, which challenged Turkish sovereignty. He was twice arrested by the Turkish authorities in 1915. In 1920, after the occupation of Damascus by French troops, he emigrated to Egypt. He was sentenced to death by the French authorities in absentia. After the amnesty of 1924, he returned to Syria. He took part in the national-liberation uprising of 1925-27; when it was crushed, he fled to Iraq. He was again sentenced to death. After the amnesty of 1931, he returned to Syria.

Kuwatli was one of the founders (in 1927) and the general secretary of the Kutla Wataniyya (National Bloc) Party, which demanded independence for Syria. In 1936 he became a parliamentary deputy. From August 1943 to March 1949 he was president of Syria. He sought to achieve the withdrawal of foreign troops from Syrian territory. After the reactionary coup of Mar. 30, 1949, he emigrated to Egypt, remaining there until August 1955. From September 1955 to February 1958 he was again president of Syria. He emigrated to Lebanon in September 1961, where he remained until his death. He is buried in Damascus.

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