Bahij al-Khatib

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Bahij al-Khatib
بهيج الخطيب
Bahij al-Khatib.jpg
Head of State of Syria
In office
July 10, 1939 – September 16, 1941
Preceded by Hashim al-Atassi
Succeeded by Khalid al-Azm
Personal details
Born 1895
Damascus, Syria Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died 1981 (aged 86)
Damascus, Syria

Bahij al-Khatib (Arabic: بهيج الخطيب‎) (1895–1981) was a French-appointed Syrian Head of State from July 10, 1939 to September 16, 1941. He was staunchly loyal to the continued French administration of Syria and opposed all aspirations for independence. Al-Khatib was educated in Mount Lebanon and was an oil merchant in Beirut before entering politics. He began his political career when he joined the civil service in Damascus after France imposed its League of Nations mandate over Syria and Lebanon in July 1920. Due to his loyalty to the French administration, he rose to be Director of Police and Public Security, and lead a campaign of intimidation and harassment of nationalist leaders and organizations. When the Nationalist Hashim al-Atassi, the first president of the newly declared Syrian Republic, resigned in protest over continued French prevarication against full independence, al-Khatib was appointed in his stead by the French authorities. Due to his extreme unpopularity, he was eventually asked to resign by French president Charles de Gaulle in 1941.