Cimetieres Militaires Francais de Beyrouth

The French Military Cemetery in Beirut occupies a plot of ground directly bordering the British War Cemetery. On the day I was there the place was locked, so I couldn't do more than peek through the gate and fence.

It would have been nice to go in and look around. Still, I'm glad the view through the fence was as nice as this.

This grave marker made me quite curious. I don't have any command of French at all, let alone one good enough to read. So I asked my husband, who does.

Apparently it says that in 1925, French soldiers died in a place called Hasbaya. Their bodies were discovered in 2000 and transferred to this spot. What happened in 1925, and where is Hasbaya? I had no idea and all that wondering sent me to the internet for answers.

Hasbaya is a Druze town in the mountains. Wikipedia's page about Hasbaya didn't list any notable events for 1925, but a search for "1925 Druze Lebanon" produced another page about the Great Syrian Revolt 1925-1927, also known as the Great Druze Revolt. From that source:

Under the guise of "modernization," the French colonial authorities sought to overthrow the traditional/"feudal" political elite and impose their own subordinates as governors . . . On August 23, 1925 Sultan Pasha al-Atrash officially declared revolution against France. . . . After initial rebel victories against the French, France sent thousands of troops to Syria and Lebanon from Morocco and Senegal, equipped with modern weapons, compared to the meagre supplies of the rebels. This dramatically altered the results and allowed the French to regain many cities . . .

I think it's safe to say that there's a connection between these conflicts and the dead French soldiers found in Hasbaya. If anyone can direct me to something more specific, I'd be glad to hear about it.


  1. I found this article:

    It's so satisfying when you can actually solve a cemetery mystery!

  2. Wow, that's a great story. Thanks for the link, it fills in the blanks.

  3. A strange story indeed.

    Glad you didn't let the locked gate stop you from photographing.

  4. Fascinating history... all that in the wake of World War One where that part of the Middle East got carved up. And blood continued to flow. Still not finished apparently.