Martin Thomas
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The empire goes to war
The Syrian campaign and Free French administration in the Levant, 1941–45
in The French empire at war 1940–45
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Premier Raymond Poincare first officially confirmed French ambitions in Syria in 1912. Vichy administration and Free French administration shared much in common in that each sought to evade France's implicit obligation to quit the Middle East. Both the Free French and the British claimed that Vichy complicity in Axis support of Rashid Ali al-Ghailani's Iraqi revolt justified the Anglo-Gaullist attack on Syria on 8 June. The British empire and Free French columns that invaded the French Levant from Palestine and Transjordan on 8 June fell under the overall command of General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. As the Levant was occupied by British land forces, the War Office bore primary responsibility for the cost of the occupation administration. By 14 July a Occupied Territories Committee had agreed that the best solution for Syria was a Free French administration with full executive powers.

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