DAMASCUS (AFP) – Syria marked the 59th anniversary of the founding of the Arab nationalist Baath party which rules the country, against a backdrop of growing US pressure for Damascus to change its policies.
To celebrate the occasion, military barracks and buildings were decorated with Syrian flags, banners and portraits of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian television broadcast an entire day of patriotic songs and documentaries about the history of the Baath party and the country’s armed forces.
The Baath party, inaugurated officially in 1947 in Damascus, preaches Arab unity. It seized power in Iraq on February 8, 1963 in a coup d’etat. One month later, another coup saw it installed in Syria.
The Baath, which means “resurrection” in Arabic, promotes pan-Arab nationalism and socialism.