Each year on 17 April Syrians celebrate the anniversary of the withdrawal of the last Franc soldier from their country in 1945.
GV & CU People with banners parade through streets (3 shots)
SV PAN FROM Drummer TO banner
GV ZOOM INTO SV Girl soldiers parading (2 shots)
GV Portrait of President Assad being carried
GV March passes fountains in square
Initials BB/1530 NC/JB/BB/1540
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Each year on 17 April Syrians celebrate the anniversary of the withdrawal of the last Franc soldier from their country in 1945.
This year, on the eve of the anniversary, hundreds of people -- including a large number of students -- paraded through the streets of Damascus. They carried banners and large pictures of President Assad, and bands played national music.
The French mandate in Syria ended in 1946 after more than 25 years. Feelings ran so high towards the end of this period that disturbances which broke out at the time ended only after Britain sent in troops and French troops and officials were withdrawn. The British troops pulled out in 1946 and Syria became fully independent.