Sunday, November 23, 2014

A People's History of Syria--Part 7--section 3: 1925 to 1926 Period

Although “the French bombardment of Damascus” in October 1925 “ended any organized mobilization” of anti-imperialist Syrian insurgents in Damascus, in response, the “insurgency expanded every day in the regions surrounding Damascus” and “thousands of Syrian men and women took part in the revolt” although, according to Michael Provence’s The Great Syrian Revolt and The Rise of Arab Nationalism, French “mandatory forces continued to bomb and shell numerous villages, neighborhoods, and suburbs in the region of Damascus.” As the same book also observed:

“Resistance shifted back to the…surrounding countryside. The destruction of their city failed to pacify the population with fear and led to an outraged expansion of rebel activity…Guerrilla bands soon gained control of the countryside on all sides of the city…The southern region was completely under the control of the insurgents. It took more than a year and massive reinforcements of troops and equipment for the mandatory power to regain effective control of the countryside of Damascus…The aims of the insurgents were clear: the expulsion of France and the independence of Syria.”

In Damascus on Dec.15, 1925, Syrian nationalist politicians who were not involved directly in armed revolt against French troops in the countryside surrounding Damascus then also demanded the following from French imperialist government representatives in Syria: 1. a general amnesty; 2. reunification of the country so that it would again include all of Beirut, all of Lebanon and all of Greater Syria; 3. a native Syrian government in Syria with real authority, instead of just a figurehead Syrian government that mainly served French imperialist interests; 4. the election of a Constituent Assembly to frame a constitution for a new, independent Syrian state; and 5. the establishment of a limitation for how long French government rule in Syria would last.

The mandate authorities in Syria of the French government, however, rejected all of these demands and, according to The Great Syrian Revolt and The Rise of Arab Nationalism, outside of Damascus the following happened:  

“…Towns and villages from Mount Lebanon east to the Anti-Lebanon range and south to the border with British-ruled Palestine experienced destruction from the air. The 1925 revolt was the first time in history that civilian populations were subjected to daily systematic aerial bombardment…By late December [1925] scores of villages in the area around Damascus had been bombed. Aerial bombardment was punishment for…suspicion of harboring rebels…”

(end of section 3 of part 7)

No comments: