Hosni (Husni) Az-Za’im (Al-Zaim)

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On March 30, 1949, a military junta led by Brig.-Gen. Husni al-Zaim, a member of the Kurdish minority, seized power in Syria, with US support. Az-Za'im took power with a promise that he would do "something constructive" about the Arab-Israeli problem. Zaim openly declared his ambition to be the first Arab leader to make peace with Israel. In April, he sent a secret message to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, offering Israel full peace with an immediate exchange of ambassadors, normal economic relations, and the resettlement of 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria in return for some "minor border changes" along the ceasefire line and moving the border to the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Ben-Gurion refused to make such an agreement and signed a limited armistice instead.

Essentially a dictatorship and highly unpopular, the Az-Za'im regime was overthrown in August by another military junta, and Zaim was executed.

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