Syria’s Independence Day
Syrian Independence Day: April 17, 1946
Laying the foundation
Independence Day is a public holiday in Syria.
Syria gained independence from France on April 17, 1946. Every year, the people of Syria marks this day as a celebration for the anniversary of their independence from foreign rule.
History of Syrian Independence Day
Lawrence of Arabia
Syria was under the control of the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) before World War I. After the fall of the empire, France tagged Syria under its sphere of influence through the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. France eventually put the country under its mandate after the war Battle of Maysalun involving King Faisal I and the French military forces in the region. The conferring of mandate to France to rule over Syria was recognized by the then League of Nations In 1920.
The next wave of protests which call for the independence of Syria from France followed. One of the most prominent was that of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash in 1925 starting from Druze Mountain spreading to major cities and towns and other parts of Lebanon located West of Syria.
Druze Funeral of Alhosany Haj Amin Alhosayni
The camp of Sultan Pasha was victorious in the battles that were fought on July 21, 1925 (Battle of Al-Kabi), August 2, 1925 (Battle of Al-Mazra’a) including those of the battles of Salkhad, Suwayda, and Almsifarh. However, overwhelming French forces armed with modern military weapons weakened and destroyed his Al Atrash’s troops leading to the fall of his command in 1927.
First World War
French Army in Syria
Al Atrash’s was sentenced to death by France but managed to flee to nearby states. In 1937, he went back after being pardoned for political crimes charged to him right after the Syrian French Treaty was signed.
The next sign of the country’s serious engagement in obtaining independence from France started in 1936. Under the Treaty of Independence of Syria in September 1936, Hashim al-Atassi became the first president. France, however, didn’t honor it because they refused to amend the terms listed on the treaty. The fall of France in the Second World War was marked with a change in control in Syria from France to the latter’s Vichy government, ruling from July 1940 to August 1944. The next phase of France reoccupation of the country happened on July 1941. However, Syria pronounced itself as a free state on the same year.
France conferred independence to Syria three years later but it wasn’t until April 1946 when France fully evacuated its military forces from the country finally giving it the independence the people have been wanting for the long time.
Syrian Independence Day: Traditions, Customs and Activities
The ceremonial hoisting of flag is observed during the celebration of the anniversary of Syria’s Independence Day on memorial parks to honor those who died in the wars fought against the French forces to liberate the country from foreign rule.
Independence Day is one of Syria’s important national holidays so most people are on day off. Spectacular fireworks light up the sky of major cities and towns in Syria as an observance to the event