Yazid I reigned as the caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate from 680 until his death in 683. The second caliph of the caliphate, Yazid's appointment was the first succession based on hereditary in the history of Islam. His caliphate was marked by the commencement of the Second Fitna, a period of military and political disorder in the Islamic community.
Bashar al-Assad is the current president of Syria and has been serving in this position since 17 July 2000. Over the years, he has also had a major impact on Syria as the commander-in-chief of the country's Armed Forces. In 2011, his decision to impose military sieges on protesters participating in the Arab Spring resulted in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.
Syrian politician and former military personnel Rifaat Ali al-Assad, brother of late President of Syria, Hafez Assad, and uncle of current President Bashar al-Assad, served as Vice President of Syria from March 1984 to February 1998. According to some sources, he allegedly supervised Hama massacre (1982), carried out by the Syrian Army, resulting in suppression of Islamist insurgency in Syria.
Syrian general Salah Jadid was a prominent leader of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party of Syria, also known as the Syrian Regional Branch, which he led as its Assistant Regional Secretary. He became the de facto ruler of Syria but was eventually ousted by the Corrective Revolution of Hafez al-Assad.
Shukri al-Quwatli was not just the 8th president of Syria but also its first president post-independence. He was part of the National Bloc and also led the Syrian anti-colonialist movement. He was overthrown by a coup, imprisoned, and exiled. Re-elected later, he was merely a nominal head.
A prominent Sunni Islamist cleric from Syria, Omar Bakri Muhammad had a significant contribution to the development of the pan-Islamist fundamental organization Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK. He later switched to the Saudi Arabia-based militant group Al-Muhajiroun. He eventually fled to Lebanon, where he was sentenced to prison for terrorism.
Mustafa Tlass, who had been the Syrian defense minister, was also a lover of Syrian literature and had launched a publishing house named Tlass Books. However, he was criticized for publishing anti-Semitic content. He also once claimed that Gina Lollobrigida and Princess Diana had both expressed their love for him.
Three-time president of Syria, Hashim al-Atassi was a nationalist. Born into a landowning family, he began his political career serving as the governors of places such as Hama, Anatolia, and Baalbek. Known for his adherence to constitutional means of governance, he was respected by his opponents, too.
Syrian politician Salah al-Din al-Bitar, a noted theorist of Arab democratic nationalism, co-founded the Arab Ba'ath Party that espoused Baʿathism. al-Bitar served thrice as Prime Minister of Syria in Ba'athist governments, but later had differences with younger members of the party that grew more radical. He left Syria, lived in exile, however remained politically active till his assassination in 1980.
Second century BC king of Syria Alexander Balas ruled over the Seleucid Empire. He made Jonathan Maccabeus the Jewish governor, thus appeasing Palestine. He was helped by the Roman Senate and the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty during his reign but was killed in combat against Demetrius II Nicator.
Hellenistic Seleucid monarch Seleucus VI Epiphanes grew up amid a civil war between his father, Antiochus VIII, and his uncle, Antiochus IX, and seized power after killing his uncle in a battle. Known for his ruthlessness, he taxed his people heavily to support his wars. He was apparently burnt alive by rioters.
Syrian army officer and president Adib Shishakli is known for opposing the union of Syria and Iraq after World War II. He arranged 2 coups and got the prime minister arrested during the 2nd coup. He suppressed all political parties and later launched his own party, the Arab Liberation Movement. He was eventually overthrown.
Syrian nationalist and Syrian Revolution commander Sultan al-Atrash led the Jabal Druze revolt against the French rule in Syria. His political activities led him to live in exile for many years, until he was granted French amnesty in May 1937. He participated in the Levant Crisis and supported the union of Syria and Egypt.
Guerrilla leader and Palestine Liberation Front founder Abu Abbas is remembered for his role in the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. He fled to Iraq, where he was sheltered by Saddam Hussein. He was captured during the US’s Iraq War and reportedly died in custody.
Radical Syrian politician Akram al-Hawrani was a major figure of the nationalist movement in Syria and also contributed to the development of the Ba'ath Party. He stood up against the exploitation of peasants and later fled to Lebanon. He also played a role in the political union of Syria and Egypt.
Expelled from law school due to illegal political activities, Syrian politician Khalid Bakdash later joined the Communist Party. He was jailed by the French but eventually emerged as the first Communist leader to be elected to an Arab parliament. He later had a tiff with fellow Communist leader Yusuf Faisal.
Arab Umayyad general Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ash'ath, also known as Ibn al-Ashʿath, is remembered for his campaign against al-Mukhtar. He also led campaigns against Shabib ibn Yazid al-Shaybani and the Zunbil. His fight against al-Hajjaj ended in him either committing suicide or being murdered.
Initially a lawyer, Nazim al-Kudsi later stepped into politics, joining the National Bloc and then the People's Party. He went from being the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament to being the Syrian ambassador to the US, and eventually leading the nation as the prime minister and then as the president.
Mahmoud Al-Zoubi was an Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party leader who rose to be the prime minister of Syria. His administration witnessed a major currency crisis in Syria. He was expelled from the Ba'ath Party for his involvement in a bribery scandal involving the French aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
Umayyad governor of Iraq, Khalid al-Qasri began his career as the governor of Mecca. Later, as the governor of Iraq, he made efforts to develop the agricultural prosperity of his kingdom. He also built a church, his mother being a Christian. He was later jailed for embezzlement and eventually executed.
Badr Khānī Jāladat was a Kurdish nationalist leader who served as the first president of the Kurdish National League. He was also a renowned editor and served as the first editor of Ḥawār, which along with Runahi, contributed to the development of a Kurdish popular literature.
Syrian novelist and politician Abdul-Salam Ojeili was also a doctor. Apart from teaching at institutes such as Damascus University, he wrote iconic novels and short story collections, such as Hearts on Wires and Land of the Lords. As a politician, he held major portfolios, such as the foreign and cultural ministries.