Syrian traditional clothing. *Photo from Wikipedia
April 17 is the Evacuation Day, which 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.
Syria, officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
French troops occupied Syria in 1920 after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. On September 29, 1923, France was assigned the League of Nations mandate of Syria. The French mandate lasted until 1943, when two independent countries emerged, Syria and Lebanon. Syrian independence was attained on October 24, 1945, and French troops completely left Syria and Lebanon on April 17, 1946.
The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by a crackdown by the Syrian Army. International organizations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL, and Syria rebel groups of severe human rights violations, and of many massacres. The conflict has caused a major refugee crisis. Over the course of the war a number of peace initiatives have been launched, including the March 2017 Geneva peace talks on Syria led by the United Nations.
But fighting continues. The United States and European allies launched airstrikes on April 13, 2018, against Syrian research, storage and military targets.