The date 16 May marks the anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916. The agreement resulted in the division of the Arab region into several countries.
The agreement was a secret document, similar to an understanding, signed between France and the UK, with the ratification of the Russian Empire. It aimed to divide the Fertile Crescent which lay between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River Basin, and the coastal part of the Levant.
This meant that the divide allowed the two countries to define areas of influence in West Asia after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which lost control of the region in the First World War.
The agreement was ratified by the French and British governments on 9 and 16 May 1916. France acquired the largest part of the western flank of the Fertile Crescent, namely Syria and Lebanon, next to the Mosul region in Iraq.
As for Britain, its areas of control extended from the southern part of the Levant, expanding eastward to include Baghdad, Basra, as well as all areas between the Arabian Gulf and the French region in Syria.
It was decided that Palestine would fall under an international administration to be agreed upon in consultation between the UK, France, and Russia. However, the agreement stipulated that the UK would be granted the ports of Haifa and Acre, provided that France would be free to use the port of Haifa.
This agreement and what followed in the form of Greater Syria or the Arab Mashreq were divided into states and political entities that were established according to the borders drawn under this agreement. These borders established the modern-day countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.