Résumé of the autobiography of Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash
Preparation and translation by Dr. Rim Mansour Al-Atrash
- Syria was under the domination of the Ottoman Empire for 4 centuries. But Syrian people, especially in Djebel al-Arab, in the south of Syria, never accepted this domination.
- In 1888, Sultan Al-Atrash was born in Quouraya, a village near Souweida. His father, Thoukan was the chief of this village. In 1910, Sultan fought the Turks with his father and other men of the Djebel in their revolt against the Turks. Then, in 5/3/1911, Thoukan was hanged by the Turks in Public Square in Damascus (al-Marja).
- Later, in 1916, the Great Arab Revolution against the Turks was commanded by Sharif Hussein of Mecqua. Sultan participated in this Revolution, and was the first to enter Damascus with his men, after the battle of "Tilal al-Manea", near Damascus, and the first to raise the Arab flag on the top of Government building in Damascus (Saraya). This flag was made by the women in the family of Sultan Al-Atrash.
- In Mayssaloun, Sultan wanted to help Youssef al-Azma, he went to Braq, in the south of Damascus, but it was too late: the French entered Damascus on 24 of July 1920. So, Sultan said: it was only a battle, we still can resist. For this reason, he sent Hamad al-Barbour to Bosra, al-Quouds and Hayfa, in Palestine, to convince king Fayssal to come to Djebel, to establish the Arab State, and continue the resistance. But, Fayssal said: it was too late now; and he traveled to Europe. By now, Syria was under the French Mandate. In order to dominate our people, the French divided Syria into separated states, according to our religions communities. Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash refused these states and reclaimed the reunification of Syria.
- Ibrahim Hanano, the leader of the rebellion in the north of Syria, came to Djebel al-Arab to be protected by Sultan Al-Atrash. Sultan sent him to Jordan safely.
- In 1922, and during 9 months, Sultan commanded his first revolution when the French captured Adham Khanjar in Quouraya. Adham Khanjar wanted, with Ahmad Moureiweid, to kill the general Gouraud, but this act was failed. Adham Khanjar came to Sultan to be protected from the French, but Sultan wasn't in his village. So, Sultan commanded the battle of "Tal al-Hadid" in Souweida. Then, he was condemned to death, and his home was destructed by the French. After one year, he could return to his village because of the amnesty announced by the French.
- In July 1925, Sultan Al-Atrash announced the Great Syrian Revolution. He and his men, al-mujahidin, gathered to protest against the French authorities. In many battles at Kafr, Mazraa, Musayfira, Golan, Majdal, halwa, Rashaya (Lebanon), Shita…, French forces were defeated: Syrian swords and primitive guns, against French tanks and military planes.
After that, Syrian leaders went to Djebel to congratulate Sultan on his victory; also, he was named officially, the General Leader of the Great Syrian Revolution. The aim of this revolution was to unify the Syrian regions in one independent Nation, and her slogan was: "Religion is for God, the Nation is for all of us". So the secularism objective was very clear in this revolution. But the French Mandate was against secularism in Syria, because it divided Syria into religions communities' states!
During this time, the Revolution was generalized in almost all Syria, and the battles continued until 1927.
- After the failure of the Syrian Revolution, Sultan his family and his followers, refused to give his weapons to the French authorities; they were exiled to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, from 1927 to 1937.
- The Syrian political leaders with Sultan continued to demand that France must leave Syria. Finally, in the Paris Treaty of 1936, France accepted the Syrian demands for unity and independence.
- So, Sultan Al-Atrash, after the amnesty, returned to Syria on 18/5/1937, and lived in his village as a modest peasant. He was welcomed in Damascus as a national hero.
- After the independence of Syria, he refused political positions and supported the national regime. But he was against the dictators, especially Adib Sheshakli, who sent a military campaign to Djebel to exterminate the opposition. Sultan was obliged to go to his exile in Jordan, because he did not want to see a civil war in Syria. In 1954, he returned again to his village when Sheshakli leaves it.
- Sultan Al-Atrash was always interested in our national aspirations, for that, he supported the Union between Syria and Egypt 1958-1961. For that reason, the president Gamal Abdul-Nasser visited Sultan Al-Atrash in Souweida, and Sultan said to him that the Syrians wanted also the union of the entire Arab world.
- Sultan continued his life as a modest peasant, and a national leader. He was encouraging the science and the education, so he constructed many schools in Quouraya. He respected all religions, so he gave a donation to build a church in Quouraya.
- On Friday the 26 of March 1982, he died peacefully at his home. His funeral was a national occasion on Sunday the 28 of March. 500 000 men, women, children and politicians were there, in order to participate in his funeral. The Syria president, Hafez Al-Assad, visited Sultan's home on 27 of March, to pray for his soul. The French media in Paris gave a special attention to the death of Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash.
- The Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad ordered to build a great edifice to commemorate the Great Syrian Revolution, in front of Sultan's home; the tomb of Sultan Al-Atrash will be in this edifice. Sultan left a political and national testament for the future generations; it is unique in Arab world.