This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Historical Flags Until 1932 (Syria)

Last modified: 2013-11-08 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: syria | damascus | aleppo | sanjak | pan-arab colours | crescent: points to fly (white) | star (white) | triangle: hoist (red) | canton: france |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | random flag | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



See also:


Other site:


Introduction

I have extracted from [Corre 2000 the relevant information which should have accompanied Jaume Ollé's images. I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French. I have not translated the papers in full, only extracted the vexillological relevant parts. If, however, I may venture some interpretation, it seems that reports about Syrian flags are rather conflicting and that even the editor of [the French Navy's] Album des Pavillons at that time had some difficulties to know the exact status of the flag. The administrative status of the territories changed very often because of rivalry between the local colonial administrators and the quick succession of the governors.
Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001

Damascus in the Book of All Kingdoms, Late 14th Century

The 47th flag mentioned and illustrated in the in the illustrated transcription of the Book of All Kingdoms [f0fXX] is attributed to Damascus. This is depicted in the 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription [f0f05] as a yellow flag with a white crescent (with black lining visible) pointing to the hoist but not in the ogival default shape of this source: the flag is quadrangular with five shallow round edentations on the fly edge, and shows a black line where the said ogival shape would be in other flags.
The anonymous author of [f0fXX] describes the flag thusly:

«E el rey dende á por señales un pendón amarillo con una luna blanca d’esta manera.»
"And the king thereof has for device a yellow pendon with a white moon in this fashion."

António Martins-Tuválkin, 20 Nov 2007


Before 1918

[Ottoman Syria (to 1918)] 2:3
image by Željko Heimer, 02 Mar 1999

Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire and used the Ottoman flag.
Until World War One, Damascus Sanjak [sanjak = region] included all the area of nowadays Syria, Lebanon, Israel / Palestine and Jordan.
Dov Gutterman, 21 Dec 1998


Arab administration 1918-1920

[Syria 1918-1920]
image by Filip Van Laenen

In 1918 the British forces established an Arab military administration in Damascus and inner Syria under Faysal (son of Hussein ibn Ali, Grand Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz), using the 'Arab Revolt' flag.
Britain turned effective control of nowadays Syria and Lebanon to France on September 1919.


Kingdom of Syria March-July 1920

[See main entry]

The 2nd Syrian National Congress held in Damascus on March 8th, 1920 crowned Faysal I King of Syria, who was not recognized by Britain or France and claimed a Greater Syria (with Palestine and Lebanon). A similar flag was adopted but with a seven-pointed white star in the red triangle. Faysal adopted a standard that was the same flag with a star and a royal golden crown in the central green stripe.


French Mandate July-August 1920

[French Mandate July-August 1920 (Syria)] 2:3
image by António Martins-Tuválkin

The Allied Supreme Council gave the mandate of nowadays Syria and Lebanon to France on 25th April 1920, confirmed 23rd July 1922. General Gouraud occupied Damascus, Faysal was defeated in Maisselum 24th July 1920, dethroned and forced into exile in Iraq.
Sources and Credits.
This flag was used in Syria after the defeat of Faisal (July) and the establishment of the French Mandate 1st September 1920. Source is [Corre 2000.
Jaume Ollé, 25 Jan 2001

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

Syria, July-August 1920.
After the victory of the French troops commanded by General Gouraud in Khan-Meissaloum (24 July 1920), Faysal left Syria and became king of Iraq. After the fall of Faysal, a sky blue flag with a white crescent and a French Tricolore in canton might have been used in Syria. Original source: Whitney Smith's communication to Lucien Philippe, 11 March 1990.

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001


French Mandate September 1920-1922

The French organized Syria into 5 states under the mandate:

Sources and Credits.

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

4. Federation of Syria, under French mandate, 1920-1925.
Syria had officially been abandoned by the Ottoman Empire through the treaty of Sèvres on 10 August 1920. Gouraud established the French mandate on 1 September 1920 and created four political entities:In March 1921 was created the autonomous territory of Soueida, for the Druze minority. The territory was later renamed Jebel Druze. On 23 July 1922, the Society of Nations granted to France a Syrian-Lebanese mandate.

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001


Syrian Federation 1922-1925

[French Mandate of Syria 1920-1932]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin

In June 1922 France established a loose federation between the four Syrian puppet states (Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, and Jebel Druze); Lebanon was considered a separate entity thereafter. According to Jaume Ollé, the federal flag is created, horizontal green-white-green with French flag in canton.
The partially Turkish populated Alexandretta was turned into a sixth division within the French mandate on March 4th, 1923.
France reunited Aleppo and Damascus on 1st December 1924, adopting the federal flag (green-white-green with French canton) as the Syrian flag. This encouraged the nationalists who formed the People's Party. The Druze Revolt started and lasted till 1927.
A constituent assembly summoned by France and enjoying nationalist majority drafted a Constitution not recognising the French mandate and was thus rejected. The French introduced a Constitution which was approved May 14th 1930, establishing Damascus and Aleppo as the Syrian Republic.
Sources and Credits.
This flag was used by the Syrian Federation 1922-1925 and by Syrian State (merging of Alepu and Damascus) 1925-1930 (or 1932).
Jaume Ollé, 25 Jan 2001

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

4. Federation of Syria, under French mandate, 1920-1925.
(...) In order to show consideration for all of the religions and their sects, Gouraud established on 22 June 1922 a Federation of Syria, grouping the three states of Aleppo, Damascus and the State of Alawites. The flag of the Federation was horizontally divided green-white-green with the French Tricolore in canton. Jebel Druze joined the Federation on 24 October 1922. Original source: Pierre Fournier and Jean-Louis Riccioli, La France et le Proche-Orient 1916-1946, Casterman, 1996.

The four states of the Federation [Aleppo, Damascus, State of Alawites and Jebel Druze] each had a specific flag with the French Tricolore in canton. (...)

It is highly probable that all of these flags with the Tricolore in canton had a naval version, with optical proportions [30+33+37], and a land version, with equal stripes [1+1+1]. Since most reports came from naval sources, most of the illustrated flags have optical proportions. (...)

The Federation was suppressed by General Weygand on 1 January 1925.

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001


State of Syria 1924-1925 (Damascus and Aleppo only), probably erroneous

[State of Syria 1924-1925 (Syria)] 2:3
image by António Martins-Tuválkin

This flag was used (supposedly) between 1924 and 1925 in Damascus State.
Jaume Ollé, 25 Jan 2001

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

4. Federation of Syria, under French mandate, 1920-1925. (...) Damascus and Aleppo merged on 5 December 1924 to form the State of Syria, which might have used a vertically divided green-white-green flag with the French Tricolore in canton. Anyway, this flag was reported in 1926, one year after the end of the state, and is probably erroneous.
Therefore the flag on the above image by Jaume Ollé might have been used by the State of Syria and not by Damascus alone.

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001


State of Syria 1925-1930

[French Mandate of Syria 1920-1932]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

5. State of Syria, under French mandate, 1925-1930.
The state used an horizontally divided green-white-green flag with the French Tricolore (optical proportions) [i.e. stripes 30+33+37] in canton, extending over the half of the flag. (...)

It is highly probable that all of these flags with the Tricolore in canton had a naval version, with optical proportions [30+33+37], and a land version, with equal stripes [1+1+1]. Since most reports came from naval sources, most of the illustrated flags have optical proportions.

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001

Variant 1925-1932
[French Mandate of Syria 1925-1932, variant]
image by M.V. Blanes

According to a drawing in [Znamierowski 1999, the size and shape of the canton with the French tricolor was different. [Znamierowski 1999 dates it 1925-1932, but I am not sure if it replaced the 1922 flag or both are versions of the same flag.
M.V. Blanes, 18 February 2000


Republic of Syria 1930-1932, probably erroneous

The following is an extract from [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #19/65, September 2000). I have tried to stick to the text as tightly as possible (no interpretation). Possible errors come either from the original text or loose translation from French:

6. Republic of Syria, 1930-1932

The Syrian Republic was proclaimed on 14 May 1930 and might have used a horizontally divided green-white-black flag, which would have been the forerunner of the 1932 flag. (Original source: Jaume Ollé)

The addendum to [Corre 2000 ([Franciae Vexilla, #20/66, December 2000, p. 8) is based on letters kept in the archives of the SHOM [publishers of the French Navy's [Album des Pavillons] in Brest:

A letter from Rear-Admiral Deville, commander of the Levant Naval Division in Beirut, dated 22 August 1930, stated that, "The ensign of the State of Syria is a green-white-black tricolor flag with three red stars, proportion 1:2, placed horizontally in a row". Therefore, the 1930 Syrian flag reported by Jaume Ollé is very doubtful. Anyway, it seems the adoption of the new Syrian flag caused a lot of wrong interpretations (including placing the three stars 2+1 along the hoist).

Ivan Sache, 03 Feb 2001

Curiously I never write or speak [with] the article['s] author (I never heard from him before this article), and I don't have any new[s] of this flag. (...) Must be an error.
Jaume Ollé, 03 Feb 2001

An English language translation of the "Constitution of the State of Syria, Promulgated by a Decree of The High Commissioner of the French Republic, No. 3111 of May 14th, 1930" is printed in The League of Nations Official Journal, Vol. 11, September, 1930, p. 1112-1122. Article 4 (p. 1113) describes the flag:
The Syrian flag shall be composed as follows, the length shall be double the height. It shall contain three bands of equal dimensions, the upper band being green, the middle band white, and the lower band black. The white portion shall bear three red stars in line, having five points each.

Jan Oskar Engene, 06 Mar 2005


Sources and Credits

Sources: [Vexillinfo 81, [Hesmer 1992, Chronic Handbuch, Staaten der Weltgeschichte, Falko Schmidt (article in [DGF-Nachrichten), Islamic Enciclopaedia and others.
Overview by Mark Sensen, Robert M. J. Czernkowski, Ed Haynes, Nathan Augustine, Nick Artimovich, Will Linden, Jaume Ollé, Jarig Bakker and Santiago Dotor.
Bibliography: [Musa 1987 and [Corre 2000