Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Exporter begins (1941)

The Middle Eastern front in World War II often merits only a brief mention before you move on to Pearl Harbor, the Pacific campaign, and so forth. So Operation Exporter, or the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, doesn’t get that much attention. Indeed, even during the war news about the campaign was downplayed or outright suppressed in Britain, for a very simple reason: it involved Britain fighting France. Yes, we’re talking about a Vichy French army, but it hadn’t even been a year since the last British and Free French troops fled France, and British authorities felt that morale would suffer if people found out that they were now at war with what was left of the French army.

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