President Husni al-Zaim (1894-1949)

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Husni al-Zaim was the first military ruler of post-independence Syria. After a troubled career in the French-sponsored Army during the years of the French Mandate, he was discharged from service during World War II. President Shukri al-Quwatli re-appointed him to the Syrian Army in 1946 and he rose to become commander of Military Police, then Chief-of-Staff of the Syrian Army during the Palestine War of 1948. He launched a coup against President Quwatli on March 30, 1949 and ruled Syria for 137 days, only to be deposed, and killed, in August 1949. His era was marked with improved relations with the US, a harsh campaign against Syrian Communists, and signing of an armistice agreement with Israel.