Syrian National Socialist Party/Hizb al-Suri al-Qawmi al-Ijtimai


Antun Saadeh


Greater Syrian nationalism

International Alignment

Italian-type fascism



Notable Members

Sami al-Hinnawi, Adib Shishakli, Salah Shishakli, Salah Jadid, Ghassam Jadid, Husni al-Za'im


Founded in Beirut, Lebanon in 1932 as an anti-colonial resistance movement. After the Italian occupation of Syria and Lebanon, the Syrian National Socialist Party courted the new occupiers, with the expectation that it would assume at least partial control over the entire French mandate. However, Lebanon achieved independence separately, under the Maronite Catholic-dominated Phalanx Movement.

The support base for the SNSP came mainly from Syria's minorities: Greek Orthodox, Alawites and other Shi'ites, Druze, Kurds, etc. These groups had most to fear from Syria's transformation, or absorbtion, into a unitary Arab, Sunni Muslim state, like those of the neighbouring Hashemite Kingdoms. Originally dominated by Greek Orthodox, the Druze and later the Alawites have become the backbone of the SNSP.

While both the Phalanx and the SNSP stressed the distinctiveness of the people of Lebanon and Syria from the broader Arab nation, the SNSP championed a secular identity, while the Phalanx was, essentially, an exclusively Christian movement. The Phalanx stress the descent of the Lebanese, especially Christian Lebanese, from the ancient Phoenicians, supplemented by colonies of Greeks and European Crusaders. The SNSP describe the Greater Syrian ethnicity as resulting from a blend of the various civilisations which have ruled the region: Canaanites (Phoenicians), Akkadians, Chaldaeans, Assyrians, Aramaeans, Hitties, Mitannis and Arabs.

More recently some factions within the SNSP have pushed for greater Syrian engagement with the Arab world: as few of the independent Arab states resemble the mob-ruled, majoritarian tyranies of early SNSP propaganda. Though neighbouring Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon are ruled by ethnically and denominationally exclusive elites, several of the Arab states beyond are more diverse and secular.

The SNSP is led by Antun Saadeh, known as al-Za'im (Fuehrer). Other notable members include the Sunni Muslims, Sami al-Hinnawi, Adib Shishakli, Salah Shishakli and Zaki al-Arsuzi, the Alawites Salah Jadid and Ghassam Jadid and the Kurd Husni al-Za'im. The founders of the Syrian Committee to Help Iraq, the Greek Orthodox Michel Aflaq and the Sunni Salah al-Din al-Bitar merged their movement with the SNSP, as did the rival Arab National Party of Zaki al-Arsuz.