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Turbulent from the Start: Revisiting Military Politics in Pre-Baʿth Syria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2020

Hicham Bou Nassif*
Government, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California, 91711, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


This article reconsiders military politics in Syria prior to the 1963 Baʿthi power grab in light of new sources. I undermine the presumptions that Baʿthi tactics of sectarian favoritism in the armed forces were unprecedented in post-independence Syria. I make the following arguments: first, attempts by the Sunni power elite to tame Syrian minorities were part of a broad sequence of events that spanned several regimes and informed politics in the Syrian officer corps; second, the various military strongmen who ruled Damascus intermittently from 1949 until 1963 distrusted minority officers and relied mainly on fellow Sunnis to exert control in the armed forces; and third, the combination of minority marginalization in Syrian politics and Sunni preferentialism inside the armed forces bred enmity and polarized sectarian relations in the officer corps.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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3 A recent piece published by Syrian intellectual Yasin al-Hajj Salih is the latest example of an interpretation of Syrian history framing Pre-Baʿth Syria as a modernizing entity in which sectarianism carried little weight. According to al-Hajj Salih: “The entire minority-versus-majority narrative in Syria is one that the [al-Asad] regime carefully crafted long before the uprisings of 2011 began—indeed, since the 1970s. It fashioned this narrative on a pattern inherited from colonial powers, which had earlier cast themselves as protectors of minorities throughout the Levant.” In this excerpt and throughout the piece, al-Hajj Salih develops the idea that there were only two culprits who used identity politics instrumentally in Syria: the French mandate; and the al-Asad regime. By contrast, in Pre-Baʿth Syria “Urban Sunnis composed a majority in the political class, but there was no Sunni rule” and “…the outcome of social forces was in favor of greater progression toward equality and citizenship”. This argument is not unique to al-Haj Salih; in fact, it is quite common among opponents of the Syrian regime such as al-Hajj Salih himself. In this article, I take issue with this interpretation of Syrian history and the “golden age” myth of national unity in the post-independence decades. See Yasin al-Hajj Salih, “The Dark Path of Minority Politics,” (New York: The Century Foundation, April 18, 2019); available at: Note, on the other hand, that the literature on Syrian military politics has tended to focus on the French mandate, or the Hafez and Bashar al-Asad tenures, while the 1946–1963 period is under-studied. See, in this regard, the dissertation of N.E. Bou Nacklie, “Les Troupes Spéciales Du Levant: Origins, Recruitment And The History Of The Syrian-Lebanese Paramilitary Forces Under The French Mandate, 1919–1947”, The University of Utah, (1989); and Michal Eisenstaedt, “Syria's defense companies: Profile of a Praetorian Unit”, Unpublished paper (1989); and Van Dam, Nikolaos, The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'th Party, (New York: I.B. Tauris, 1996)Google Scholar; and Nassif, Hicham Bou, “Second-Class: The Grievances of Sunni Officers in the Syrian Armed Forces,” Journal of Strategic Studies 38, no. 5 (2015)Google Scholar. Van Dusen's excellent dissertation is a notable exception to the rule in the sense that it is mainly centered upon post-independence military politics in Syria. See Michael Hillegas Van Dusen, “Intra- and Inter-Generational Conflict In The Syrian Army,” The Johns Hopkins University (1971).

4 Horowitz, Donald L., Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 22Google Scholar. For more on hierarchical societies and group status, see Petersen, Roger D., Understanding Ethnic Conflict, Fear, Hatred, And Resentment in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially chapter 3 “Resentment”, 40–61.

5 Hourani, A. H., Syria And Lebanon, A Political Essay (London: Oxford University Press, 1954), 6264Google Scholar.

6 Longrigg, Stephen, Syria And Lebanon Under French Mandate (New York: Octagon Books, 1972), 7Google Scholar.

7 J.Kaufman, Stuart, Modern Hatreds, The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 The reaction of the ʿulama’ to the personal status law that the French high commissioner in Syria decreed in 1938 suggests that this understanding of the inter-communal hierarchy did not change after the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire. The Christian communities in Syria had demanded throughout the 1930s a religiously neutral state with a secular personal status law applicable to all Syrians alike, irrespective of religious affiliation. Indeed, the high commissioner issued a decree along similar lines in 1938, but Sunni reaction was immediate and virulent. The association of Muslim ʿUlama’ in Damascus retorted to the high commissioner's decree that “the Syrian land is an Islamic land inhabited by a Muslim majority” (bilad Islamiyya yaqtunuha akthariyya Muslima), and that treating Sunni Muslims as just one sect among others in Syria (taʾifa ka baqqiyyat al-tawaʾif) represented an unacceptable break with tradition. As far as the Sunni religious establishment was concerned, Islam was to set the norms that the state had to follow, not the other way around. On the personal status law controversy see White, Benjamin Thomas, The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East, The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), chapter 6, especially 186–88Google Scholar. Note that traditionalist opposition to secularism and egalitarian nationalism perceived to be alien to Islam was already palpable under the Arab Government of King Faysal in Damascus (1918–1920). In this regard, see Gelvin, James L., Divided Loyalties, Nationalism And Mass Politics In Syria At The Close Of Empire (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), 185–86, 220CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 Zayn, Zayn Nur al-Din, Nushuʾ al-Qawmiyya al-ʿArabiyya, maʿ Dirasa Tarikhiyya fi al-ʿAlaqat al-ʿArabiyya al-Turkiyya (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 1986), 185Google Scholar.

10 Khoury, Philip S., Syria And The French Mandate: The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920–1945, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), 5Google Scholar.

11 Khoury, Philip S., “A Reinterpretation of the Origins and Aims of the Great Syrian Revolt, 1925–1927”, in Atiyeh, George N. and Oweiss, Ibrahim M., eds., Arab Civilization, Challenges and Responses, (Albany, NY: Sate University of New York Press, 1988), 242–43Google Scholar.

12 Provence, Michael, The Great Syrian Revolt, and the Rise of Arab Nationalism (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2005), 21Google Scholar.

13 See Hinnebusch, Raymond, Syria, Revolution from Above, (New York: Routledge, 2001)Google Scholar; Rabinovich, Itamar, Syria Under The Bath 1963–66, The Army-Party Symbiosis (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press, 1972)Google Scholar; Seale, Patrick, Asad: The Struggle For the Middle East (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1988)Google Scholar; Seale, Patrick, The Struggle For Syria (London: I. B. Tauris, 1965)Google Scholar; and Torrey, Gordon H., Syrian Politics and the Military (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1964)Google Scholar.

14 Van Dam, The Struggle for Power, 3.

15 See Joshua Landis, “Shishakli and the Druzes: Integration and Intransigence” (1998). Available at:

16 For two highly informative studies on ʿAlawi politics at the time see al-Qalish, Hassan, Qitar al-ʿAlawiyyin al-Sariʿ, al-Waʿi al-Siyasi ʿind al-ʿAlawiyyin, al-Nashʾa wa-l-Tatawwur (Beirut: al-Muʾasassa al-ʿArabiyya li-l-Dirasat wa-l-Nashr, 2017)Google Scholar; and Hawwash, Muhammad, ʿAn al-ʿAlawiyyin wa Dawlatihum al-Mustaqilla (Casablanca: al-Sharika al-Jadida li-l-Matabiʿ al-Muttahida, 1997)Google Scholar. See also Winter, Stefan, A History of the ‘Alawis: From Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 257–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Schatzmann, Gitta Yaffe, “Alawi Separatists and Unionists: The Events of 25 February 1936,” Middle Eastern Studies 31, no. 1, (1995): 2838CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17 Al-Qalish, Qitar, 333.

18 Rabinovich, Itamar, “The Compact Minorities and the Syrian State,” Journal of Contemporary History 14 (1979): 706Google Scholar.

19 ʿAlawis were particularly on the margin in terms of ministerial appointments. Nikolaos Van Dam has shown that of all 458 ministers appointed to Syrian cabinets between 1942 and 1963, only 11 (2.4 percent) were ʿAlawis. R. Bayly Winder's study indicates that 27 Syrian politicians were appointed prime minister between 1920 and 1958—none of whom was ʿAlawi, Druze, or Ismai‘li. Only one was a Christian; the rest were all Sunnis. See Van Dam, The Struggle for Power, 82; and Winder, R. Bayly, “Syrian Deputies and Cabinet Ministers, 1919–1959,” Part I, Middle East Journal 16, no. 4, (1962): 409–19Google Scholar.

20 See Khoury, Syria And The French Mandate, 534; Rabinovich, “The Compact Minorities”, 699; Hourani, Syria and Lebanon, 214; and Longrigg, Syria and Lebanon under French Mandate, 248.

21 Weulersse, Jacques, Le Pays des Alaouites, (Tours: Arrault et Cie, 1940), 336Google Scholar.

22 For a firsthand account of the al-Murshid affair, see the memoirs of Ahmad Nuhad al-Sayyaf in Muhammad Jamal Barut, Shu’a’ Qabl al-Fajr, Mudhakkirat Ahmad Nuhad al-Sayyaf (N.p., 2005), 170–71. Al-Sayyaf (p. 151) writes on Sunni attitudes in the city of Latakia toward the neighboring ʿAlawi Mountain: “…the population in the city is suspicious of the Mountain, as if it were a jungle of savages where inhabitants are dirty, treasonous, and prone to sympathizing with external forces as well as atheism. This attitude…considers the city to be a symbol of national redemption, endowed with a right to encroach upon the Mountain's resources and honor, and to treat the Mountain as a market for sexual slaves and prostitutes (markaz li taswiq al-jawari wa-l-ghaniyyat) within a hierarchy in which city-dwellers are masters, and rural people vassals and sexual slaves.” See also al-Qalish, Qitar, 332, 340; and the memoirs of officer Husayn al-Hakim, Suryyia, 149.

23 See Kurt Lee Mendenhall, “Class, cult and tribe: the politics of ʿAlawi separatism in French Mandate Syria,” Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, (1991), 236.

24 See Husayn, ʿAbd al-Rahim Abu, Bayn al-Markaz wa-l-Atraf, Hawran fi al-Wathaʾiq al-ʿUthmaniyya, 1842–1918 (Beirut: Muʾassassat al-Turath al-Durzi, 2015), especially pages 295, 308, 376, 399, 400, 432, and 435Google Scholar. Note that according to groundbreaking work of Brigitte Shepler, “…the hatred of the Druze among the Hawranis [the Sunni inhabitants of Hawran], Damascenes, and Circassians endured, and generated the Ottoman campaigns against them in 1896 and 1910.” See Shipler, Brigitte, Intifadat Jabal al-Druze/Hawran min al-ʿAhd al-ʿUthmani ila Dawlat al-Istiqlal, 1850–1949 (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2004), 144–47Google Scholar; and Neep, Daniel, Occupying Syria Under The French Mandate, Insurgency, Space and State Formation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 47CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 See Landis, “Shishakli and the Druzes.”

27 Qasim, Khayriyya, Mudhakkirat Muhsin al-Barazi, 1947–1949 (Beirut: al-Ruwwad li-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawziʿ, 1994), 24, 37Google Scholar.

28 That a Christian, Michel Aflaq, had co-founded the Baʿth fanned the flames of sectarian hatred against the party. In 1943, when Aflaq gave a lecture at Damascus University on Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Sunni notables in the city objected. Later on, in the 1960s, when the Baʿth clashed with Gamal ʿAbd al-Nasser, Aflaq's religious background was instrumentalized politically, and his very name ridiculed. An ally of ʿAbd al-Nasser, President Sallal of Yemen, mocked Aflaq's Christian name: “What a strange name; we are genuine Arabs, what do we have to do with Michel?” According to Patrick Seale, ʿAbd al-Nasser launched a propaganda campaign that taunted Aflaq for allegedly being a “Cypriot Christian” delusional enough to aspire to lead the Arabs. Furthermore, when Arab unionist and Baʿthi officers clashed in Baghdad in 1963 and Aflaq rushed to mediate between them, he was unceremoniously sent back home. The interference of a Damascene Christian in Iraqi affairs was deemed, in the words of Seale, an affront to “Muslim sentiment” and Iraqi patriotism. Note that Aflaq reportedly converted to Islam in his waning years and changed his name to Ahmad, though some Baʿthis argue that Saddam Hussein falsified documents pertaining to Aflaq's alleged conversion to show that he, a Muslim Baʿthi, had never followed a non-Muslim leader. See Seale, Asad, 31, 82, 91; Rabinovich, Syria Under the Baʿth, 72; Fakhr, Saqr Abu, ʿAyan al-Sham, wa Iʿaqat al-ʿAlmaniyya fi Suriyya (Beirut: al-Muʾassassa al-ʿArabiyya li-l-Dirasat wa-l-Nashr, 2013), 5859Google Scholar; and Pierret, Thomas, Religion and State in Syria, The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 175Google Scholar. See also Abu Fakhr, Suriyya wa Hutam al-Marakib al-Mubaʿthara, 26, 104, 189; and al-ʿAl, Sayyid ʿAbd, al-Inqilabat al-ʿAskariyya fi Suriyya, 1949–1954 (Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 2007), 418Google Scholar.

29 Owen, Jonathan, Akram al-Hawrani, Dirasa hawla al-Siyasa al-Suriyya ma bayn 1943–1954 (Homs: Dar al Maʿarif, 1997), 284Google Scholar. See also Abu Fakhr, Suriyya wa Hutam, 160; and Gad Soffer, “The Role of the Officer Class in Syrian Politics and Society,” Ph.D. dissertation, American University, (1968), 90.

30 Van Deusen, “Intra- and Inter-Generational Conflict,” 59.

31 Al-Qalish, Qitar, 335.

32 Owen, Akram al-Hawrani, 58.

33 Bou Nacklie, “Les Troupes,” 366.

34 See al-Qalish, Qitar, 357–59.

35 Van Deusen, “Intra- and Inter-Generational Conflict,” 61.

36 See Hourani, Syria, 214; Abu ʿAssaf, Dhikrayati, 15; al-Baʿayni, Hasan Amin, Druze Suriyya wa Lubnan fi ʿAhd al-Intidab al-Faransi, 1920–1943 (Beirut: al-Markaz al-ʿArabi li-l-Abhath wa-l-Tawthiq, 1993), 295–96Google Scholar; and White, Benjamin Thomas, The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 180Google Scholar. See also Ma'oz, “Attempts at Creating,” 399.

37 See Maʿruf, Ayyam, 67.

38 Muhammad Ibrahim al-ʿAli relates his interaction with Murshidis in an especially interesting part of his memoirs, “Qissati maʿ al-Murshidiyyin”; see Hayati wa-l-Iʿdam, (N.p., 2003), 243–374.

39 See Talass, Mirʾat Hayati, al-ʿAqd al-Thalith, 347.

40 This cable and further details on the Nasir affair are published in the memoirs of Akram al-Hawrani, Mudhakkirat, vol. II, 1233–34.

42 See Jumʿa, Awraq, 157; al-Hakim, Suriyya, 190. Note that former defense minister General Mustafa Talass denies that al-Maliki discriminated against ʿAlawis. Talass mentions that 100 cadets were admitted to the military academy in 1954. This was when al-Maliki reached his zenith in the armed forces after the downfall of al-Shishakli. Seventy of them were Baʿthis, including 40 ʿAlawis. See Talass, Mirʾat Hayati, al-ʿAqd al-Awwal, 481–82.

43 See Batatu, Hanna, Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 157Google Scholar.

44 Van Dusen, “Intra- and Inter-Generational Conflict in the Syrian Army,” 332.

45 Ibid., 61.

46 See Maʿruf, Ayyam, 151.

47 Ibid, 243,234. See also al-ʿAbidin, Bashir Zayn, Al-Jaysh wa-l-Siyasa fi Suriyya, (1918–2000), Dirasa Naqdiyya (London: Dar al-Jabiyya, 2008), 283–84Google Scholar.

48 Ibid., 280. Note that Kurdish officers operated along similar lines. See Jumʿa, Awraq, 146.

49 Abu ʿAssaf, Dhikrayati, 279, 281.

50 Ibid, 206–07, 231. See also Rathmell, Secret War, 51.

51 Abu Mansur, Aʿasir, 52.

52 So much al-Shishakli feared the Druze that he famously asserted: “My enemies are like a serpent: the head is in the Jabal, the stomach in Homs, and the tail Aleppo. If I crush the head, the serpent will die.” See Torrey, Syrian Politics, 234. See also, al-Atrash, Al-Jil al-Mudan, 196–98, 208; and ʿAbd al-ʿAl, al-Inqilabat, 101. For an informative new study on the al-Shishakli years in power see Martin, Kevin W., “Speaking with the “Voice of Syria”: Producing the Arab World's First Personality Cult,” The Middle East Journal 72, no.4, (2018): 631–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

53 Alain Chouet, “Impact of Wielding Power on Alawi Cohesiveness,” Maghreb-Machrek, (Jan-March, 1995): 5.

54 See the memoirs of al-Humsi, al-Janna al-Daʾiʿa, 209.

55 Al-Razzaz, al-Tajriba, 87.

56 Al-Humsi, al-Janna al-Daʾiʿa, 259. Al-Humsi also maintains that ʿUmran had argued in favor of escalating the 1954 Qatana mutiny into a full-blown military coup. But Akram al-Hawrani thwarted such ambitions.

57 See Saghiyya, Hazim, al-Baʿth al-Suri, Tarikh Mujaz, (Beirut: Dar al-Saqi, 2012), 35Google Scholar. Note that Mustafa Talass mentions in his memoirs that Christians in Aleppo were deeply distressed when news of the pro-ʿAbd al-Nasser coup spread in the city in April 1962. Similarly, officer Husayn al-Hakim notes in his memoirs that his Kurdish, Circassian, and Armenian peers in the Syrian armed forces were ready to fight and die for Syria, but were nonetheless estranged from Arab nationalism and unionist projects. These accounts suggest that misgivings vis-à-vis the UAR or Pan-Arabism were not confined to ʿAlawis among Syrian minorities. See Mustafa Talass, Mirʾ at Hayati, al-ʿAqd al-Thani, 220–221; and al-Hakim, Suriyya, 76.

58 279 officers graduated from the Syrian military academy under the French mandate between 1921 and 1946. 128 of these officers (i.e.45.8%) were Arab Sunnis. In contrast, only 6.1% were Druze and 5.7% were ʿAlawis. See Van Dusen, “Intra- and Inter-Generational Conflict,” Appendix One, 375–414.

59 Ma'ruf, Ayyam, 85.

60 Bashur, Min Dhakirat ʾAbi, 127. See also al-Hakim, Suriyya, 50.

61 Babil, Sahafa, 421.

62 I collected the data in this table from the memoirs of officers I mention in this book. A succinct but especially informative overview of several coups in Syria is available in the memoirs of Syrian intelligence officer Khalil Mustafa, Suqut al-Julan, 19–25.

63 Abu Mansur, Aʿasir, 51.

64 Maʿruf, Ayyam, 126. See also Fansa, Ayyam Husni al-Zaʿim, 58; and ʿAbd al-ʿAl, al-Inqilibat, 55, 91–92.

65 Especially informative for this table were the memoirs of Fansa, Najib, Ayyam Husni al-Zaʿim, 137 Yawman Hazzat Suriyya, (Beirut: Manshurat Dar al-Afaq al-Jadida, 1982), 21Google Scholar; and Abu Mansur, Aʿasir, 47. Data pertaining to sect and hometown for this and the other tables is available in the appendix of the Van Dusen dissertation, cited above.

66 Many believe that Adib al-Shishakli hailed from Kurdish stock. But his grandson, also named Adib al-Shishakli, contends that such assumptions are erroneous. See in this regard an article published by Orient Net on December 29, 2019. Available at:آل-العابد-والشيشكلي-ينفيان-ويوضحان-نحن-عرب-ولسنا-أكراداً

67 ʿAbd al-ʿAl, al-Inqilibat, 372.

68 Landis, “Shishakli and the Druze”.

69 ʿAlwan said he rejected al-Shishakli's demand though he himself hailed from Arab Sunni stock. See Van Dam, The Struggle for Power, 29.

70 Interview with a former Syrian deputy prime minister who wished to remain anonymous. Beirut, December 22, 2016.

71 Al-Samman, Watan, 344; see also al-Hakim, Suriyya, 170.

72 See Mustafa Hamdun's interview on Al-Jazeera, (August 29, 2003). Available at:

73 Especially informative for this table were the memoirs of Ahmad ʿAbd al-Karim, Hasad Sinin Khasba, 138; and Babil, Sahafa wa Siasa, 441.

74 Al-Samman, Watan, 39. See also al-Hakim, Suriyya, 156.

75 Al-Hawrani, Mudhakkirat, vol. II, 898.

76 Jumʿa, Awraq, 196. See also Zayn al-ʿAbidin, al-Jaysh, 272–73.

77 Al-ʿAshi, Fajr al-Istiqlal, 189–90.

78 Especially informative for this table was Abu Mansur, Aʿasir, 84–85.

79 Among other positions, Syrian officers were appointed as ministers of interior as well as positions in social affairs, agriculture, and transportation. See Zayn al-ʿAbidin, al-Jaysh, 293.

80 Zahr al-Din, Mudhakkarati, 18.

81 Ibid, 22, 43.

82 al-Hawrani, Akram, Mudhakkarat Akram al-Hawrani (Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 2000), vol. IV, 2,742–43 and 3,015Google Scholar.

83 The other condition for being promoted was non-partisanship (laysa hizbiyyan). See Hamrush, Ahmad, Qissat Thawrat 23 Yulu, ʿAbd al-Nasir wa-l-ʿArab, (Beirut: al-Muʾssassa al-ʿArabiyya li-l-Dirasat wa-l-Nashr, 1976), 64Google Scholar.

84 See Abu Fakhr, Suriyya wa Hutam, 293–95. According to Zayn al-ʿAbidin, Gamal ʿAbd al-Nasser was determined to weaken minority officers in the military in order to reduce the risk of a coup supported by ʿAlawi or Druze tribes, but also to undermine ʿAlawi and Druze separatist tendencies in Syria. In strengthening the Sunni element, ʿAbd al-Nasser was seemingly trying to replicate al-Shishakli's methods of coup-proofing, which was made easier by the fact that several supporters of al-Shishakli switched their loyalty to ʿAbd al-Nasser. See Zayn al-ʿAbidin, al-Jaysh, 299–300. Note that in contrast with these views, officer Mutiʿ al-Samman denies in his memoirs charges of Sunni favoritism under the United Arab Republic regime. See al-Samman, Watan, 39–40. Note also that accusations of sectarian favoritism were mutual between and his Syrian foes. For instance, ʿAbd al-Nasser publicly criticized the Syrian Baʿth in July 1963 for practicing what he labeled “racial discrimination” (tamyiz ʿunsuri) and favoring minorities (al-aqaliyyat) in Syria. See Gamal ʿAbd al-Nasser's speech on July 22, 1963, during a conference commemorating the Free Officers’ coup of 1952. The speech is available at:

85 Especially informative for this table was ʿAbd al-Karim, Hasad, 291. See also Zayn al-ʿAbidin, Al-Jaysh, 276.

86 Al-Jundi, al-Baʿth, 88.

87 Especially informative for this table was ʿAbd al-Karim, Hasad, 420; Hamdani, Shahid, 195; Zahr al-Din, Mudhakkirati, 51; and Shuʿaybi, Shahid Min al-Mukhabarat, 133–34, 156.

88 Al-Humsi, al-Janna al-Daʾiʿa, 257. See also al-Hakim, Suriyya, 298. Note that Muhammad Ibrahim al-ʿAli was sentenced to death on January 1963 for his role in the Aleppo killings, but the Baʿth coup of March 1963 saved him.

89 Zahr al-Din, Mudhakkirati, 215, 372.

90 See Talass, Mirʾat Hayati, al-ʿAqd al-Thani, 216, 349.

91 See al-Samman, Watan, 262. See also Jumʿa, Awraq, 277.

92 See Mustafa Hamdun's interview on al-Jazeera, ibid.

93 Al-Humsi, al-Janna, 292.

94 Ibid, 343.

95 See Mustafa, Suqut, 20.

96 On the exile of al-Nahlawi, his return to Syria and failed attempt to seize power see al-Hakim, Suriyya, 300–304.

97 It goes beyond the limits of this study to engage regionalism in Syria in further depth. But Van Deusen's piece on the topic can be consulted usefully. See Deusen, Michael H. Van, “Political Integration and Regionalism in Syria”, Middle East Journal 26, no. 2, (1972), 123–36Google Scholar.

98 Al-Hakim, Suriyya, 306.

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