LONDON (Jun. 9)
Allied forces today pressed deeper into Syria and Lebanon. A column of British imperial and Free French troops, advancing from Palestine, reached the towns of Derat and Merdjayou, about 40 miles from Beirut and Damascus, capturing the Bible-famed Mediterranean port of Tyre.
French officials in the captured Syrian towns are “cooperating with the Allies,” declared British dispatches, which added that the extent of French opposition to the Allied entry “is at present difficult to estimate.”
“Tremendous quantities” of food have been sent from Jerusalem for distribution among the Syrian population, who have been short of food for weeks, according to British dispatches from the Syrian frontier. The report came as Palestine itself introduced rationing of sugar in restaurants.
A wave of joy and relief swept over Palestine as Allied forces forestalled any possibility of a Nazi invasion from Syria and Lebanon by moving into the French-mandated territories.
The effective use of Palestine as the base for operations underlined the strategic importance of the Holy Land in the British defense system, which Palestine Jewish leaders have been stressing for many months. The Palestine skies were alive with bomber and fighter planes of the Royal Air Force taking off from Palestine fields for operations across the northern border.