Evacuation Day (Syria)

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Evacuation Day
عيد الجلاء
The people of Deir ez-Zor, Syria, celebrate their independence from France, 1946.
Official nameEvacuation Day
Observed bySyrians
SignificanceEvacuation of the last French soldier and Syria's proclamation
ObservancesParades, flowers
Date17 April[1]

Evacuation Day (Arabic: عيد الجلاء‎), is Syria's national day commemorating the evacuation of the last French soldier and Syria's proclamation of full independence and the end of the French mandate of Syria on 17 April 1946.


After World War I, the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new nations, creating the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Following the Sykes–Picot Agreement between France, the United Kingdom and Russia in 1916, the League of Nations granted France mandates over Syria and Lebanon in 1923.[2]

France divided the region into six states based in part on the sectarian make up on the ground in Syria. However, nearly all the Syrian sects were hostile to the French mandate and to the division it created. This was best demonstrated by the numerous revolts that the French encountered in the Syrian states.[3]

With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of the Vichy Government until the British and Free France invaded and occupied the country in July 1941. Syria proclaimed its independence in 1941 but it was not until 1 January 1944 that it was recognized as an independent republic. With the advent of the Levant Crisis in 1945 prompted by a British invasion authorised by Sir Winston Churchill – the French evacuated the last of their troops on 17 April 1946.[4]


  1. ^ Edward Ziter (2014). Political Performance in Syria: From the Six-Day War to the Syrian Uprising. Springer. p. 9. ISBN 9781137358981.
  2. ^ Tarek Osman (13 December 2013). "Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East". BBC. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Syria: The French mandate". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Syria profile". BBC. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.