THE ASCENDANCY OF THE BACTH IN SYRIA (1963 - 1966)
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On the 8th March 1963 a military coup of the coalition of Bacthist, Naoirist and independent unionistic officers brought down the 'secessionist regime' in Damascus. When the army took over, it set up a National Revolutionary Council under the chairmanship of Lt-General Lu'ayy al-Atasi, who invited one of the leaders of the Socialist Party of Arab Resurrection (the Bacth Party) Ialaaddin al-Bioar to form a government of military and civilian ministers. One of the first actions of the new government was to issue a statement in which they declared that their aim was to lead Syria back to reunion with Egypt, this time in company with Iraq. At the same time General al-Atasi declared that the army had been purged of secessionists, including former ministers. Shortly after, minority members in the Syrian officers' corps increased again strongly in numbers at the expense of the Sunnites. A principal reason for this was that the Bacthist military leaders who were involved in the coup had called up numerous officers and non-commissioned officers with whom they were related through family, tribal or regional ties, to consolidate quickly their newly achieved power positions.
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