Syria/lebanon And Surrounding Areas

Discussion in 'General' started by Kieron Hill, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Hi all,

    Can some please tell me in not
    so many words what significant
    role Syria/Lebanon and the
    surrounding geographical areas
    played during WW2 i.e. supply
    routes etc...and were there
    any terrorist activities going

    The reason I am asking is that
    I have recently come across
    over 200 photos relating to
    the Australian Imperial Forces
    (A.I.F.) operating in such
    areas and I am in the process
    of trying to research them.

  2. DirtyDick

    DirtyDick Senior Member

    Hello Kieron

    Following the fall of France, the forces then serving outside of France fell into two camps: the minority who joined the Free French, either from the July 1940 or later, or those who remained loyal to the new French "Vichy" Government. Virtually the whole of the French Empire fell into this latter category.

    Syria & Lebanon had been ceded to the French in 1919 - as had Palestine to the British - and as such in 1940 it became a Vichy territory; not at war with the UK but considered hostile and obviously collaborationist, so was dealt with accordingly to prevent it being of use to the Axis forces.

    I believe the French Foreign Legion was the most split, with FFL troops actually fighting each other in Syria and N Africa.

  3. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Cheers Richard,

    The reason I asked about terrorist activities
    is that I have lots of pictures of de-railed
    trains, which look as if bombs have been
    planted, also Arabs that look like they're in an
    open prison and Arabs being body searched.
    When I get five minutes I'll post a couple
    of photos.

    Cheers again Richard

  4. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    Here are just five of about fifteen
    which look closely related.

  5. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    The Australian Official History volume "Greece, Crete, and Syria," covers this undeserved back-corner of the war very well.
  6. DirtyDick

    DirtyDick Senior Member


    No doubt policing actions would have been necessary against the local population after the ending of Vichy rule; I don't much about contemporary independence movements in that area, but I am sure it would have had some impact. Moreover, there was an action against pro-Axis Iraqis in 1941.

  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There is a new book out which covers Syria & Lebanon: 'Review Blood, Oil and the Axis: The Allied Resistance Against A Fascist State In Iraq and the Levant, 1941' by John Brioch and the link is to a review. Here is a small quote:
    Link: MUSINGS ON IRAQ: Review Blood, Oil and the Axis: The Allied Resistance Against A Fascist State In Iraq and the Levant, 1941
  8. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Many of the NZ Official Histories contain a Syrian interlude in early 1942. from 24 Battalion Chapter 4;

    "At this period of the war Egypt was threatened actually and immediately by way of the North African coastline, and potentially by a thrust through Turkey or southern Russia. In the event of one or both of these last-named operations being attempted, the enemy's southward advance must come by way of Syria, of which country the Vichy French had lately been dispossessed. To guard against such a possibility, the Ninth Army moved into positions covering the approaches that led into Palestine through the ranges of Syria. The 2nd New Zealand Division formed part of this army.
    While 5 Brigade remained for the time being in the Western Desert, 4 and 6 Brigades began to move into Syria at the end of February and beginning of March, stage by stage, unit after unit. The 24th Battalion crossed the Suez Canal by ferry on 12 March and continued its journey alternately by train and motor transport via El Kehir, Haifa, Beirut, Rayak, and Aleppo, finally arriving late on the night of 14 March at Afrine camp

    They were back in Egypt by the end of June.

  9. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    One of the most significant roles Lebanon played in WW2 was the location of the Mountain Warfare Training Centre at Cedars

    Mountain Warfare Traning Centre, Cedars, Lebanon 1992 191-197 Cox Lebanon.pdf

    Most, if not all, British and Commonwealth divisions, brigades and regiments/battalions that fought in Italy rotated through here on a six week course at some point from 1942 onwards. This training was invaluable in the mountainous terrain on Italy.

    Chris C and davidbfpo like this.

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