Jassem Alwan, architect of the failed July 18, 1963 coup against the Baath

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Image Source: Yehya Rekab Archive

Jassem Alwan, a Nasserist, tried and failed to seize power in July 1963, four months after the Baath coup. He was one of the architects of the March 8, 1963 coup, but became furious with the Baath when they systematically dismissed senior Baathists from the Army. His coup led to a bloodbath on the streets of Damascus, as his troops tried to overtake the Umayyad Square. He fled to Egypt where he was given asylum by President Gamal Abdul Nasser while his supporters were arrested and executed. This prompted Nasser to appear on Cairo Radio and declare: "No union with the Baathists" describing them as "Fascists." Alwan remained in exile until May 2005, where he was allowed to return to Syria, a mediation conducted by his friend, Defense Minister Mustapha Tlass.