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Ibrahim Hananu or Ibrahim Hanano (1869–1935) (Arabic: إبراهيم هنانو‎) was an Ottoman municipal official and later a leader of a revolt against the French presence in northern Syria. He was a Constantinople-educated member of a notable landholding family of Kurdish origin in northern Syria.

Ibrahim Hananu
Hananu, 1932.jpg
Portrait of Hananu, 1932
DiedNovember 21, 1935(1935-11-21) (aged 65–66)
Known forLeader of Hananu Revolt in Aleppo area


Early life and educationEdit

Hananu was born in Kafr Takharim, he was born to a wealthy family of Arabic ancestry and raised in Aleppo. There is dispute on his birth date: one source[1] mentions he was born in 1879, while another[2] mentions he was born in 1869. He studied at the Imperial High School in Aleppo, and continued his studies at the Ottoman Law Academy of the prestigious Mülkiye school in Constantinople. As a student, he joined the Committee of Union and Progress, the political organ that later took stage following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908.[3]

Career and viewsEdit

Upon graduation, Hananu briefly taught at the military academy. Later, he joined the bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empire, only to retire and manage his estates. One Syrian source from the United Arab Republic era indicates that having embraced nationalism when the Arab Revolt broke out in 1916, Hananu joined the Arab army of Faysal I and entered Aleppo with the Allies in 1918.[4] Supposedly, he also joined the secret nationalist society al-Fatat, though there is no corroborating evidence for this. Along with many of the prominent merchants in Aleppo, Hananu became associated with the League of National Defense and the Arab Club of Aleppo.

Particularly following his French mandate authority trial in March 1922,[5] the Muslim elite of Aleppo coalesced around Hananu as a patriotic leader of the Muslim resistance to the French that had occurred with Turkish aid prior to the Franco-Turkish negotiations of 1921. Breaking out in the autumn of 1919 in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, when the French army had landed on the Syrian coast and was preparing to occupy all of Syria, Hanano launched his revolt, bringing Aleppo, Idlib and Antioch into a coordinated campaign against French forces. Hananu was responsible for the disarmament of many French troops, the destruction of railroads and telegraph lines, the sabotage of tanks, and the foiling of French attacks on Aleppo. He received aid from the Turkish nationalist movement of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which was battling the French army of the Levant for control of Cilicia and southern Anatolia. With the withdrawal of Turkish military assistance following the signing of the Franklin-Bouillon Agreement in October 1921, Hananu and his men could no longer sustain a revolt, and their struggle collapsed. Despite the failure of the revolt, the organization of the northern areas of Syria with Turkish help has been interpreted as a prototype for self-government that Hananu and other Syrians built upon in later years.[6] Much recent Syrian historiography considers Hananu's rebellion as but the first of a broader series of coordinated revolts, including the Great Revolt of 1925, against the French occupation of the emerging nation state of Syria.

For Hananu, the Ottoman State, Islam and modernity were not mutually exclusive; like others of his class and educational background, as a "New Man," his habitus revolved around the successful unification and continued harmonization of these key concepts in his public and personal life. Hananu's efforts confirm what was at issue for him and others like him in the fight against the French: it was about political control and a profound sense of attachment to place, but also his professional dignity, personal ambition, and a sense of modern self.[7]

The Revolution First SparkEdit

Hananu was a smart leader; he called out some people from his village that he trust to make the first fighting group in the north, and they called it "The National Defense Association". The association has made a major impact, so Hananu decided to add more people.

Hananu was talented speaker and he encouraged many people to fight with him after his famous speech when he said " to all brave Syrians, to you who refuse injustice, from the top of the mountain i am telling you that our beloved country is occupied and threatened by colonist, those who attacked the sanctity of our independence and freedom, to all heroes let's fight.". After that the number of militant in kafr Takharem reached 50 men, as a slimier movement to recruit in neighboring villages began to reach the total of 400 militants.

On July 23, 1920, when the French army attacked Aleppo, Hananu forced to retreat back to his village kafr takharem. As a consequence he began to reorganize the revolution movement with Najeb Awad. The rebels decided to make civilian government based in Armanaz. Furthermore, the government entrusted to organize the financial and economic issues for the revolution. Hananu traveled to turkey after making the civilian government in order to ask for help against the French colonialism.[8]

Hananu trialEdit

In 1922 Ibrahim Hananu was arrested and presented to the French military criminal court on charges of criminal acts, and the first sessions was on 15 March 1922 . One of the best lawyers at that time, Fathallah Saqqal defended Hananu, advocated for Hananu's innocence, and argued that Hananu was a political opponent not a criminal.

When the head of the military council asked Hananu, "the Syrian people didn't ask you for a revolution, why you are doing that?" Saadallah al-Jabiri stood up and said "We asked him to fight you, and we will not stop fighting, until you leave our country".

On 25 March 1922 the French Attorney General requested the execution of Hananu, and he said "if Hananu has seven heads I will cut them all", but the French judge released Hananu after signing a treaty with him, saying his revolution legitimate political revolution.[9]

Hanano ِAfter the TreatyEdit

After signing the treaty, Hananu was forced to be under house arrest, and his movements were monitored by the French intelligence. However, Hananu was able to escape from the control after 1925 revolution. Hananu continued to play an active role in the Syrian national movement. He was one of the founding fathers of the National Bloc, which emerged from the Beirut conference of October 1927, and which steered the course of the independence struggle in Syria until its completion nineteen years later. He was a member of the National Bloc's permanent council and chief of its political bureau. In 1928, Hananu held office on the Constitutional Assembly that drafted the first republican constitution for Syria. In the 1930s, he affirmed his reputation as a hard-liner, refusing to negotiate with the French until they pledged complete unconditional independence for Syria.[10]

The Revolution Results in The North AreaEdit

The most important results of the revolution was forcing the French to recognize the legitimacy of the revolution as residuals of the Government of Faysal I, which led them bring the leader to peer negotiation. It came after the French suffered heavy losses in men, money and arms. The most important result of the revolution, was the reintegration of the State of Aleppo and Damascus after separating them. The French realized that there is no way to separate the unity of national cohesion among the inhabitants of these regions.[8]

Death and legacyEdit

Assassination AttemptEdit

In September 1933, a person called Nazi Al-Kousa shot Hananu in his village, Kafr Tkharem. However, he shot him in the legs, as consequences the shooter got arrested in Antioch and sentenced to ten years. Nonetheless, the French commissioner pardoned him which refer to the French relationship with the assassination attempt.[8]

His DeathEdit

Hananu died in 1935 in Aleppo. Stressful life and a lot of struggles were the causes of his death, as well as suffering from Tuberculosis. The mourning began the day after his death for three days, and the newspaper and magazines published in a black cover for his death. He is considered one of the most celebrated warriors and heroes of the resistance against the French Mandate. After Hananu's death, his house in Aleppo was used by Syrian nationalists as a "house of the nation." His nephew, Omar Al Sibai, was one of the communist leaders in Syria.[11]


  1. ^ Watenpaugh, Keith David (2014). Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-691-12169-7.
  2. ^ Moubayed, Sami (2006). Steel & Silk: Men and Women who Shaped Syria 1900–2000. Cune Press. p. 376. ISBN 1-885942-41-9.
  3. ^ Watenpaugh, Keith David (2006). Being Modern in the Middle East. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. pp. 174–184.
  4. ^ Adham al-Jundi, Tarikh al-thawrat al-suriyya fi 'ahd al-intidab al-faransi, Damascus, 1960.
  5. ^ Keith Watenpaugh, Being Modern, pp. 180-181
  6. ^ James Gelvin, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of the Empire, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1998, pp. 133-134.
  7. ^ Keith David Watenpaugh, Being Modern, p. 179.
  8. ^ a b c Kaddour, Mohammad (1 April 2012). "ابراهيم هنانو "Ibrahim Hananu"". اكتشف سوريا "Discover Syria". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  9. ^ Kanafani, Adnan (20 August 2008). "Ibrahim Hananu". Idleb website. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  10. ^ Philip Khoury, Syria and the French Mandate, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1987.
  11. ^ Drysdale, Alasdair (January 1981). "The Syrian Political Elite, 1966-1976: A Spatial and Social Analysis". Middle Eastern Studies. 17 (1): 3–30. doi:10.1080/00263208108700455. JSTOR 4282814.