LebanonFrench Period and Related French Medals
After the Great War, France, entrusted with the mandate for Lebanon and Syria previously part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, was obliged to intervene in Cilicia after an uprising by the Turks and the need to pacify the Kurds (Campaigns of 1919-1921). A new uprising broke out involving the Druze in 1925 and a year was needed to pacify the region and to protect the minorities (Campaigns of 1925-1926). A law dated July 18, 1922 established a Syria-Cilicia Commemorative Medal, also known as the Levant Medal. The Levant Medal has three bars associated with it: (1) the bronze Oriental style bar LEVANT for service 11/11/1918 to 10/20/21 against the Turks and Kurds; (2) a gilt silver Oriental style bar 1925 LEVANT 1926 for action against the Druze 7/21/25 to 9/30/26 and a silver bar LEVANT 1941 for service between 6/8/41 to 7/12/41, resisting Franco-British attacks, issued by the Vichy Government. The Free French Government outlawed the LEVANT 1941 bar on 4/13/44. There is a fourth chocolate-brown medal, known as the MEDAILLE DU LEVANT, which was issued by the Free French Government in exile in London with no bar, for action between 7/12/41 and 8/14/43.
The Levant Customs Medal is one of the most rare of the French Colonial Medals. The obverse features a hunting horn and flaming grenade in the central portion. The reverse is inscribed on a straight line in the center, DOUANES, and around this at the top, ETATS DU LEVANT and at the bottom, MANDAT FRANCAIS. A second version is known to exist with the inscription only in Arabic.
The 1926 Commemorative, established 3/9/26, was awarded only to French troops who assisted in the creation and maintenance of a Lebanon separate from Syria in opposition to the Druze uprising of 7/18/25 and who defended the new State from the invasion from Syria in 1926 (leading to the repeated bombardment of Damascus). The medal was not awarded to Lebanese troops. This medal is sometimes deemed to be a French award, but it was actually awarded by the government of Lebanon (under tight French control).
The inscription on the Order of Public Instruction differs slightly by class. The engraved inscription at the base of the tree reads, QUI OUVRE UNE ÉCOLE DERME UNE PRISON (Who Opens a School Closes a Prison).
The Overseas Medal is awarded to French forces participating in the UN 's Interim Force in Lebanon (1978 to present).
Levant Bars >>