Rida Pasha al-Rikabi, commander of Ottoman troops in Jerusalem - 1908

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Image Source: Radwan al-Atasi Archive

Rida Pasha al-Rikabi (seated center in the front row) defected from the Ottoman Army in 1916 and joined the Great Arab Revolt of Sharif Hussein. He fought in the Arabian Desert during World War I, and in 1918, entered his native Damascus and became the first Prime Minister of the Arab Government. In 1932, Rikabi nominated himself for the first presidential elections in Syria, running on a party ticket that pledged to restore the Hashemite crown to Syria. He was defeated against the independent, Mohammad Ali al-Abed, who became the first president of Syria.