Syrian National Uprising of 1925–27

Syrian National Uprising of 1925–27

 

a national liberation uprising of the Syrian people against French colonial rule; also referred to as the Syrian Revolution and Syrian War of National Liberation.

Provoked by the French imperialists, the Syrian National Uprising of 1925–27 broke out on July 18, 1925, in Jebel Druze (Jabal al-Duruz) after the French high commissioner in Syria, General M. Sarrail, refused to remove the governor of the Jebel Druze region. Captain Carbillet, notorious for his cruel treatment of Syrian nationals. Workers, fellahin, and artisans took part in the uprising, as well as representatives of the intelligentsia, part of the merchants and national bourgeoisie, and individual feudal lords. The uprising was led by the feudal lord Sultan al-Atrash.

On July 20, 1925, the Syrian insurgents took the town of Salkhad, and on July 21 they defeated a column of French troops near Al-Kafr. On July 28 they entered the city of Al-Suwayda, capital of Jebel Druze, and besieged the citadel. On August 2 and 3, in a battle near the headwaters of the Masra, they routed a column of French troops 4,000 strong and captured a considerable amount of war materiel. The uprising then spread throughout Syria. On Aug. 23, 1925, al-Atrash published a manifesto calling the Syrian people to arms and demanding full independence for Syria, the formation of a national government, and the withdrawal of French troops. The uprising was supported by the People’s Party (Hizb al-Shaab), founded in February 1925 and headed by the prominent Arab nationalist doctor Shahbandar. Bodies of people’s revolutionary power appeared in a number of Syrian cities. In October 1925, Jebel Druze was completely liberated. An anti-French revolt broke out in the oasis of Ghuta. On Oct. 14, 1925, a general strike was held in Damascus, and on Oct. 18 the insurgents entered Damascus. General Sarrail bombarded the city, and the insurgents were forced to abandon Damascus and carry on guerrilla warfare in the vicinity of the city and in other parts of Syria. In the summer of 1926, having concentrated more than 80,000 French troops in Syria, Sarrail began a new offensive; by autumn he had suppressed the main hotbeds of revolt. Part of al-Atrash’s guerrilla army kept up the fight, entrenching itself in the mountainous region of El-Leja and repulsing the French attacks during the winter of 1926–27. The French took El-Leja in March 1927, Ghuta in May, and Jebel Druze in June. Al-Atrash and some of his supporters fled first to Transjordan and then to the Nejd in Arabia.

The uprising in Syria was greeted warmly in the other Arab countries and in the Soviet Union. The French Communist Party supported the demands of the insurgents.

The French imperialists won a temporary victory; however, they were forced to modify their methods of rule in Syria. In 1928 elections to a constituent assembly were held, and in 1930 Syria was proclaimed a republic, though still under French mandate.

REFERENCE

Lutskii, V. B. Natsional’no-osvoboditel’naia voina v Sirii (1925–1927 gg.). Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography.)

N. S. LUTSKAIA

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