Damascus, On July 24, 1920, Youssef al-Azmeh, the then Syrian Minister of Defense, was martyred along with other heroes while defending Syrian land from the French army, in a battle that took place in the town of Maysaloon, located 50 km west of Damascus, on the current border with Lebanon.
In this battle, al-Azmeh faced with few men and weapons the French colonialist army led by General Ghoro, who had a large number of men and heavy and modern weapons… in that battle, al-Azmeh together with many soldiers of his army were martyred.
During the years of the World War I, the Syrian people bravely and courageously resisted the greed of the invaders who planned to divide the Arab world into States, according to the Sykes-Picot agreement.
At that time, Noble Hussein was the first who called for the independence of the Arabs from the Ottoman Empire, and planned to declare the Revolution from Mecca to liberate the entire Arab land from the Ottoman Empire… the execution of several Syrian and Lebanese revolutionaries by part of the Ottoman army commander Yamal Basha (nicknamed as the butcher), accelerated the declaration of this Revolution.
On October 5th, 1918, the King of Syria, Prince Faisal, read a statement announcing his plan to form an Arab government of unity that overcomes all differences and treats all Arab citizens equally… This announcement provoked anger of the colonialists who immediately announced the application of the Sykes-Picot agreement in order to confront the growing patriotism of the Arab people.
The rejection of the Syrian people to the colonial schemes made France send an army by sea, and occupy Beirut, and between November 10 and December 7th, 1918, the French forces occupied the Syrian coast while the British troops occupied several Syrian cities…
When France appointed General Ghoro as head of the French troops, the Syrian government formed by King Faisal, issued a statement announcing full support for the independence of all of Syria and refusing to make the Palestinian territory a homeland for the Jews… The statement also expressed rejection of foreign interference.
On July 14, 1920, French Colonel Bayer was sent to Damascus carrying a written warning from General Ghoro to King Faisal asking the latter to officially and unconditionally recognize the French mandate over Syria and suspend conscription, and also putting the strategic railway line between Aleppo and Riyaq at the service of the French army.
The Syrian people rejected the warning and considered it an offense against their will; however, on July 17, 1920, King Faisal agreed to meet the French demands.
At that time, Defense Minister Youssef al-Azmeh rejected the French demands and decided to resist… On July 24, 1920, in the town of Maysaloon, 3,000 Syrian men gathered and swore to defend the Syrian homeland to the last drop of blood.
Despite their small number and their old weapons, these heroes firmly faced the French army and resisted with courage and honor, unable to prevent the numerous and well-armed French army from entering Damascus.
The hero Youssef al-Azmeh was martyred in the battle, and the French army entered Syria; and from the first day, the Syrian people began to resist writing with their blood an honorable history of struggle.
The martyrdom of Youssef al-Azmeh became a beacon that guided the struggle of the Syrian people across the homeland, until they achieved independence… during this struggle, men from all over the homeland gave eternal examples of patriotism and struggle that resulted in independence on April 17th, 1946.
The Maysaloon battle was etched in the memory, and the colonialists would need a long time to forget the cry raised by the Syrian people for independence.
Today, the Syrian people celebrate the 76th anniversary of Independence Day, with more determination and will to continue to confront terrorism and occupation.
The Syrians affirm that they will not renounce the glorious history of their ancestors, who founded the independent national state and rejected all forms of aggression and colonialism.
On the 76th anniversary of independence, Syria will continue to fight until the liberation of the last grain of the occupied Arab lands and until the liberation of every inch of the Syrian territory from terrorism.
Source: Syrian Arab News Agency