Occupying the Rachaya region in west Bekaa from 1920, French troops, present in accordance with the Mandate established by the League of Nations, had to make the Druze rebels led by Zayd al-Atrash, for four days, from 20 to 24 November 1925, who had retreated to the area after the recapture of Damascus. 3000 Druze fighters will face the 4th squadron of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment(1ster REC) of the Foreign Legion, with a hundred men and commanded by Captain Landriau.
The objective of the rebel operation was to build a bridge between Lebanese and Syrian Druze regions and thus cut off the communications of the French Army between the coast and the hinterland. The Great Druze Revolt also risked turning into a sectarian conflict between the latter and the Christians following the capture of the town of Marjayoun or the massacres of Maronites had occurred. To cope, the troops of the Levant will transform the citadel of Rachaya into a base of operation.
As early as November 20, taking advantage of the nightfall, the rebels infiltrated the defense put in place by the French troops and seized part of the fortress to be repelled. Heavy fighting ensued within the fortress for the next three days, until a French bayonet charge forced the rebels to retreat outside.
At the end of these 3 days, short of ammunition, Captain Landriau decided to « do Camerone » by launching a final assault in an attempt to break the encirclement. Before Landriau could launch his charge, the French air force arrived to bomb the rebels gathered around the fortress and the unit was reinforced by the arrival of a first rescue column of the 6th Spahis Regiment and then a second column of the 21st Algerian Gun regiment. More than 400 rebels (and at least 34 wounded) were killed and wounded, as far as the Levant were killed and wounded. Zayd al-Atrash’s forces later retreated to the mountains of Anti-Lebanon and Syria.
The Great Druze Revolt continued until 1927 in Syrian territory, where it ended because of the conflicts between the various Syrian communities and the important military means implemented by France.
The death toll is about 10,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, and 2,500 to 6,000 soldiers on the French side.
But this is another story!