Syria and Palestine


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Syria and Palestine is Number 60 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published in 1920, after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. At this time part of the Ottoman Empire, Syria was a vaguely defined entity that included not only present-day Syria, but all of the territory “between the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and the deserts of Arabia,” with its eastern frontier extending to present-day Iraq. Chapter I of the book is an overview of the physical and political geography of the region. Chapter II provides a political history from Napoleon’s invasion of Syria in 1799 to the events of World War I. Chapter III covers social and political conditions, including a discussion of relations among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Chapter IV is an analysis of economic conditions, with statistical tables showing the value and volume of imports and exports and steamship tonnage in Beirut, Alexandretta (present-day İskenderun, Turkey), Tripoli, Haifa, Jaffa, and several smaller harbors.

Last updated: November 14, 2017