Mansour al-Atrash has Died at 80

Mansour al-Atrash, the son of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash and one of the earliest Druze members of the Baath Party died yesterday. It is with great saddness that I received this note from a good friend Talal al-Atrash yesterday, November 14, 2006. My condolences to him and the entire Atrash family, which has served Syria in so many ways. 
Dear Joshua,
My grand-uncle Mansour al-Atrash, son of Sultan Pacha al-Atrash, passed away today, 14 novembre 2006, at 6:30 am. He was 80 years old.
A big ceremony will be held in Sweida on Friday, in the city's stadium. Hundreds of thousands of Druze wll come from all over Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and maybe from the occupied Golan Heights, as well as prominent Arab  personalities are expected to attend the ceremony that will be held before his burial. The same kind of ceremony that took place when Sultan and his brother Zaid, died in 1982 and in 1996.
He will be buried later during the day in Hushus, a wooden land planted by Sultan, that he owned, near his village, Qryaya.
Best regards, Talal
Talal took me and my 81 year old father to visit Mansour in Qryaya in April 2005. We sat in the madafa of Sultan Pasha and chatted for several hours. At first Mansour was distant. Ever the Arab nationalist, he was not eager to welcome Americans who had so recently invaded Iraq. My father, being of his generation, broke the ice and quickly established a common bond with him. He explaining how we had just been to Lebanon to visit a hospital next to the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila that my father had helped raise close to 1.5 milllion dollars for. As the Vice chairman of the board of ANEARA, he had also helped raise money to serve breakfast to close to 20,000 Palestinian children in Gaza schools each morning.
Mansour discussed my article about the 1947 Druze uprising against President Quwatli duing the first years of Syrian independence, when the Druze had demanded a measure of federalism in Syria and the right to administer their own affairs in the Mountains where they reside. The Druze were unsuccessful in retaining a large degree of autonomy, but they played a central role in bringing down the Shishakli dictatorship. Mansour remembered the events of the period with great clarity.
[Addendum: Sami Moubayed has written a proper obituary of Mansur entitled, "Missing the Pasha," which gives a much fuller biography of Mansur and his eventful life during Syria's turbulent years of democracy and coups.]
Mansur al-Atrash, a friend and close associate of Michel Aflaq, the founder fo the Baath Party. He became President of the Regional Command of the Party in 1965, but was ousted from office and arrested when Salah Jadid carried out his coup in February 1966. (Photo thanks to
When Mansour married a Christian woman, his father refused to speak to him for many years. Sultan Pasha eventually repaired relations with his son, who became the leading spokesperson for the Atrash family and the Druze community in Syria following Sultan Pasha's death.

Sultan Pasha al-Atrash: (1891-1982) Born in al-Qurayya village near Swaida. He partcipated in battles against the Ottoman Turks during the Arab Revolt. He raised the Arab flag over Damascus upon its conquest by Emir Faysal's troops on September 29, 1918. He led the Syrian Revolt against the French in 1925. After several early victories, the Revolt was suppressed in 1927 by the French mandatory troops, causing Sultan Pasha to flee Syria for exile, first in Transjordan (now Jordan) and then in the Hijaz in Saudi Arabia. He returned to Syria on being pardoned by the French in May 1937. He died in 1982.

Comments (7)

Enlightened said:

Josh, is this the Jebel Druze uprising that you are talking about????

November 16th, 2006, 5:55 am


jb said:

ENLIGHTENED, speak Ba3thi: that should be Jabl al-‘Arab not Jabl al-Duruz

November 16th, 2006, 2:58 pm


Enlightened said:


Living in a western country you tend to forget the coloquial arab speak. I must re take arabic lessons

November 16th, 2006, 11:12 pm


Jabal al-Arab said:

A quick reminder: “Jabal al-Duruz” is a French colonial speak. This Arab province was named Jabal al-Arab by the Druze themselves right after the end of the french colonial occupation and years before the creation of the Baath party.

November 19th, 2006, 4:36 pm


robert montgomery said:

I am 1/4 Syrian Druze. My grandfather claimed to be Grand Vizier to Sultan Pasha. My, full-Syrian Druze aunt raised in Jebel al Druze and in Palestine following the family’s escape across the desert, says that the meeting at which Sultan Pasha and others decided to begin the revolution against the French in 1925 was taken in our family home in Jebel Druze. My grandfather’s name, as far as I can tell, was Jabber al-Eskier (changed to Jasper Smile in the US). I have had a life-long passion of finding out more about this. In addition, my grandfather claims to have attended meetings with T.E. Lawrence and Sultan Pasha, among others. My aunt is 90 years old and lives in Tampa, FL. but is still pretty sharp, considering. Got any info?

November 30th, 2006, 1:35 am


Erika Zain El Din said:


Mi abuelo – Deud Zain El Din – llegó a la Argentina después de la ocupación francesa en el Libano y no sabemos nada de él antes de ese momento… solo que era durzo y que vinieron varios hombres de la misma familia…
alguien puede darme más información? o donde buscar?



July 8th, 2008, 3:56 pm


Mustafa Ibn Yacoob said:

My name is Mustafa Ibn Yacoob, my grand father came from a region called Jabel Druze, Damascus – Syria. His name was Thoragus Bin Nihayan Ibn Yacoob.

I am trying to trace my routes as I feel spiritually inclined to do so.

Any help regarding my ancestoral heritage would be greatly appreciated.

February 27th, 2009, 1:32 pm


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