Key Historical Events. Independence was achieved on 12 Apr. 1946. Syria merged with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic from 2 Feb. 1958 until 29 Sept. 1961, when independence was resumed following a coup the previous day. Lieut.-Gen. Hafez al-Assad became Prime Minister following the fifth coup of that decade on 13 Nov. 1970, and assumed the Presidency on 22 Feb. 1971.
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