In Syria, along with neighbouring Lebanon, 6 May is celebrated as Martyrs’ Day. The day commemorates the execution of nationalist rebels by the Ottoman Empire on 6 May, 1916. In Syria, the executions took place in Marjeh Square in Damascus, while in Lebanon, they were conducted in Burj Square in Beirut.
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Sultan Abdul Hamid discovered that certain persons in Lebanon and Syria were secretly meeting in France to discuss and plan for independent Arab republics. He had them arrested and demanded they renounce their aspirations, but when they refused, he had them executed.
In Syria, government officials will attend an official ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Damascus, which is dedicated to all the soldiers who lost their lives in the war for independence against the Ottoman Empire.
The war memorial in Damascus not only has the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but also an impressive dome and arch and five paintings depicting the five “most epic battles” fought in the history of all Arab nations.
Public speeches will be delivered by government officials, and a special luncheon is sometimes held for relatives and descendants of the martyrs of the war for independence.