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FIRST STAMPS Turkish 1883.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED French Military Occupation 21 February 1919.


1919, 40 paras = 10 milliemes = 1 piastre.
1920, 100 centimes = 1 piastre.

Part of the Turkish Empire between 1516 and 1918. Damascus was taken in 1918 from the south by Allied (Arab and Australian) forces and Beirut from the sea by a French naval landing. In 1919 Syria was divided into a French occupation zone based on Beirut and an Arab administration based on Damascus. By the end of the year fighting broke out between the two. In March 1920 the Emir Faisal was proclaimed king of Syria. With the approval of the Allies, French troops took Damascus (25 July 1920) and dethroned Faisal, who became King of Iraq in 1921. On 1 September 1920 the French divided Syria into three autonomous states: Aleppo, Damascus, and the Alaouites (q.v.). A French mandate was approved by the League of Nations in 1922, the Christian Lebanon was given separate status, and civil rule was established on 29 September 1923. In 1925 Damascus and Aleppo were reunited as Syria.

To forestall the infiltration of German forces into Vichy-held territory, British and Free France forces invaded both countries on 8 June 1941 and (in honour of a pledge made in 1936) a Syrian Republic was proclaimed on 16 September 1941. All British and French troops left before 15 April 1946. On 1 February 1958 Syria federated with Egypt as the United Arab Republic, from which Syria broke away on 28 September 1961.

Used stamps of Turkey up to 1919. Note inscriptions:
TEO Territoires Ennemis Occupes. OMF Occupation Militaire Francaise.

Stamps were issued in the Arab kingdom March - July 1920.

Mandate stamps (inscribed for and valid throughout Syria and in Lebanon) were used September-December 1923 (no postal distinction being made between Aleppo and Damascus). Since 1 January 1924 the stamps of Syria have simply reflected each change of government.


FIRST STAMPS 1 January 1925.



1925, 100 centimes = 1 piastre.

The state of the Alawi or Alaouites between Hatay and the Lebanon. A geographical part of Syria, it had a separate existence as a French mandate in 1920-30 and as a republic in 1930-6. On 22 September 1930 it took the name of its chief town, Latakia (see below). Before 31 December 1924, see Syria.




1931, 100 centimes = 1 piastre.

Formerly Alaouites, see above. Stamps withdrawn 28 February 1937, after which stamps of Syria were used.

Ile Rouad

FIRST STAMPS 12 January 1916.


1916, 100 centimes = 1 piastre.

An island south of Latakia occupied in 1916 by the French navy as a base from which to supply Christian Syrians hostile to the Turks. Later part of the Alaouites. Military P0 opened 12 January 1916; civil P0 12 May 1916, closed 1922. After 1920 used stamps of Syria.

Free French Forces in the Levant


1942, as France

Special stamps for use in Free French FPOs in Syria and Lebanon were issued in 1942-6.

Middle East after 1916
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