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Syria is a country in the Middle East located between Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.

After centuries of Egyptian and Ottoman Turkish rule, Syria was handed to France in the aftermath of World War I. The French refused T. E. Lawrence's idea to turn it into an Arab kingdom under the Hashemite dynasty and turned it into multiple small protectorates instead:

  • The Sanjak of Alexandretta
  • The State of Aleppo
  • The Alawite State
  • The State of Damascus
  • The Jabal Druze State
  • The Republic of Greater Lebanon

All except Lebanon united to form the Syrian Republic in 1936. But Turkey, then ruled by Mustafa Kemal, claimed that Alexandretta should be part of Turkey as most of its inhabitants were Turks. The issue was solved by the League of Nations in 1938 that declared Alexandretta to be a new independent state, the Republic of Hatay. In 1939 a referendum made Hatay part of Turkey.

Meanwhile, Syria continued to be under French protection. As France was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1940, the British garrisons in the Middle East invaded Syria and Lebanon to not let the Germans make use of their airports to strike British oil reserves during the war. In 1944 Syria declared total independence, which was recognized by France in 1946.

Adventures in Syria[]

Indiana Jones traveled to Syria in 1938 to assist in the deciphering of some tablets at Ras Shamra.

Behind the scenes[]

In Raiders of the Lost Ark (set in 1936), the map showing the flight to Egypt mistakenly displays Lebanon as part of Syria, when in fact Lebanon was a French territorial mandate at the time, and has not been part of Syria since 1920.

Menno Meyjes' second draft for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade featured a stop in Syria,[1] during which Indiana Jones would rescue his father in a Crusader castle, the Krak des Chevaliers. There the Nazis would have abandoned him to die after Henry Jones, Sr. had told them that the Holy Grail was in the city of Petra, in Jordan.

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