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Many Jews Reported Among Free French Forces Invading Syria

Many Jewish officers and privates are among the Free French forces which penetrated Syria this morning, a recently arrived Palestinian informant told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

The events in Syria, he said, were being followed with the greatest interest in Palestine which, while not the only neighbor of Syria and Lebanon, was the juncture of the main Allied bases of operations.

A great part of the Jewish settlements in the Galilee are now on the very front line of the advancing Allied troops. One of the oldest colonies in the Upper Galilee, Metullah, is situated only 200 yards from the Lebanon border and part of the colony’s land even extends into Syrian territory.

A little to the south is Kfar Giladi and Tel Hei, both heroically defended points in earlier days. Another group of colonies in the affected region includes Ayeleth Hashahar, on Lake Merem, and Mishmar Hayarden, which is an important bridgehead to Syria, and other Upper Galilean colonies around Rosh Pina.

Dagania Kinereth as well as the fishing settlements on Lake Tiberias are also close to the front line. Hannita, near the Mediterranean coast, is also on the Syrian border. All of these colonies are closely connected with the history of the Palestine Jewish community.

The informant pointed out that it was perhaps premature to attempt to assess the political repercussions in Palestine of the Allied move. Lebanon is the only “A” mandate apart from Palestine. Iraq, which was formerly in the same category, was released from mandate in 1952. Syrian Nationalists often expressed the opinion that Palestine must be considered the southern part of Syria and accordingly called Palestine Suria el Janoubia, meaning Southern Syria, and the pre-war relations between the two countries were closest.

Great Jewish communities exist in all the larger towns of Syria, foremost among them being those in Damascus, Aleppo and Beirut.

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