On the 17th of April, 1946, Syria gained independence from its French colonial overlords who had ruled the Arab state since the end of the First World War as part of the provisions of the secret Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. The secret agreement to carve up the Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire among the two leading western European powers was first exposed to the world by Russian Bolsheviks in November of 1917.
Below is the full official Independence Day press release from the Syrian Arab Republic. Syrian leaders have emphasised the importance fighting terrorism in the 21st century in the statement.
It has been 71 years since the French soldiers were evacuated to the last one ending the French colonial mandate of Syria, an occasion the Syrian people annually mark on April 17th as a celebration of their independence , also known as the Evacuation Day.
On Independence Day, the Syrians recall the greatest war stories and acts of heroism ever written down by their ancestors who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the homeland’s sovereignty, steadfastness and unity.
The evacuation was a result of 25-years struggle against the French occupation and other colonial schemes aimed at fragmenting the Arab Nation. Today, the Syrian people are fighting the battle of destiny against the most aggressive war in which colonial powers and terrorist organisations are involved in order to maintain their country’s sovereignty and independence.
In a statement to SANA, Head of Damascus branch of Veterans Guild Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Shamali said that “Today, Syria is so close to expel Wahabi terrorists sent by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and backed by the same colonial powers and achieve victory under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.
Amid this terrorist war, the Syrian people recognize well that victory over terrorism is the only choice to preserve the homeland’s sovereignty and the victory achieved by their ancestors’ sacrifices on April 17th, 1946 to gain independence. The National Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party issued a statement on this occasion in which it stressed that the Syrians are so close to achieve another victory over terrorism and foil the schemes of their supporters.
The statement noted that Syria marks the anniversary as the country enters its seventh year of fighting against a terrorist war led by the US and some regional and western states to undermine Syria’s national stances in support of the Resistance against the Zionist occupation. It also referred to the US missile attack on al-Shairat airbase in Homs countryside in an attempt to weaken the morale of the Syrian army in its war on terrorism . The BASP National Leadership stressed the Syrian people’s adherence to the Resistance, adding that they are convinced that dialogue, local reconciliation and counter-terrorism are the only way out of the crisis. It underlined the Syrian people’s willingness to continue the struggle until the liberation of all occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, paying tribute and saluting the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend the homeland and maintain its sovereignty and independence.