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Adnan al-Malki (Arabic: عدنان المالكي‎‎) (1918 – 22 April 1955) was a Syrian Army officer and political figure in the mid-20th century. He served as the deputy-chief of staff of the army and was one of the most powerful figures in the army and in national politics until his assassination, blamed on a SSNP militant in 1955.[2][3]

Adnan al-Malki
عدنان المالكي
Colonel Adnan al-Malki.jpg
Personal details
Damascus, Arab Kingdom of Syria
Died22 April 1955 (aged 37)
Damascus, Syrian Republic
Political partySyrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party[1]
OccupationDeputy chief of staff of the Syrian Army
Military service
RankSyria-Muqaddam.jpg Lieutenant Colonel

Malki's assassination led to a crackdown on the SSNP in Syria.[2]


Family History and ChildhoodEdit

Adnan al-Malki was born in 1918 to a wealthy and prestigious Damascene family. Malki's family originally were North African Ulama trained in the Malki school of jurisprudence.[4]

Military careerEdit

Adnan al-Malki graduated from Homs Military Academy in 1935.[4]

In 1951 President Adib al-Shishakli outlawed most political parties in Syria. Malki concerned with Presidents actions urged that the Baath Party and the Arab Socialist Party Become one. This merger became known as Baath Arab Socialist Party in late 1952.[5]

In 1953 Malki submitted a memorandum that Colonel Shishakli at the Damascus airport upon his return from Cairo to release all political prisoners and end the one party rule.[5] This leads to his imprisonment in 1954.[6] After military rule ended Malki was reinstated in the army and promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff.[4]

Views and Baath Party AffiliationEdit

Malki never became a member of the Baath party. He was close to the military leadership of the Baath and His brother Riyad was a long time Baathist. Malki was a nasserist as well as an Arab nationalist.[6]


On Friday April 22, 1955 Senior officers including Adnan al-Malki went to the Damascus Municipal Stadium to cheer on the army's football team against a visiting Egyptian team. Malki was seated in the VIP box along with General Shuqayr and the Egyptian ambassador. Halfway through the game military police sergeant Younis Abdul Rahim fired two shots into Malki with his revolver killing him. Rahim appeared to have personal motivation in the assassination as Malki a few months prior had denied him entry for sectarian reasons into the Homs Military Academy.[6] Rahim attempted to commit suicide shortly after, however, the gun jammed and he committed suicide with a back-up gun.[6]


The SSNP was outlawed in Syria. The leadership of the party was arrested or exiled.[5] A large statue of Adnan al-Malki was placed in central Damascus and a luxurious neighborhood was name after him by the Baath party that came to power in 1964.[5]


  1. ^ Saunders 1996, p. 42
  2. ^ a b Assad laments losing his father's grand vision|The National
  3. ^ Commins 2004, p. 183
  4. ^ a b c Martin, Kevin (November 24, 2015). Syria's Democratic Years: Citizens, Experts, and Media in the 1950s. Indiana University Press.
  5. ^ a b c d Moubayed, Sami (Nov 5, 2005). Steel & Silk: Men and Women who Shaped Syria 1900-2000. Seattle, Washington: Cune. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1885942401.
  6. ^ a b c d Moubayed, Ssmi (October 11, 2000). Damascus Between Democracy and Dictatorship. University Press of America. pp. 136–140. ISBN 978-0761817444.