A prominent Kurdish opposition leader was shot dead Friday in a brazen assault that came as protesters across the country demonstrated for his fledgling anti-regime movement, activists said.Mashaal Tammo, spokesman for the Kurdish Future Party and a member of the newly formed Syria National Council, was killed in a private residence in the northeastern city of Qamishli, one of the cities where protesters gathered Friday. At least eight other people died in the Damascus suburbs and other locations during demonstrations, activists said.
Syrian forces fire on Kurdish funeral - Syrian troops open fire as 50,000 mourners attend Kurdish opposition figure’s funeral; 2 dead
(CNN) -- A prominent Kurdish opposition leader was shot dead Friday in a brazen assault that came as protesters across the country demonstrated for his fledgling anti-regime movement, activists said.
Mashaal Tammo, spokesman for the Kurdish Future Party and a member of the newly formed Syria National Council, was killed in a private residence in the northeastern city of Qamishli, one of the cities where protesters gathered Friday. At least eight other people died in the Damascus suburbs and other locations during demonstrations, activists said."The violence continues unabated," Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman, said on Friday.
Tammo's death was reported by three groups -- the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Avaaz, an international activist organization. Tammo's son and another activist, Zahida Rashkilo, were injured. Avaaz said Tammo was meeting with activists at the time.
Avaaz said the attackers were members of the Shabiha, the pro-government militia."The Kurdish people are very angry as a result," an activist told Avaaz.
Kurds live in a contiguous area that spreads across Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Kurdish rebels have fought for an independent state.
Human Rights Watch, which notes that the Kurds are the largest non-Arab ethnic minority in Syria, has estimated that Kurds make up about 10% of Syria's population. The Syrian government, viewing Kurdish identity as a threat, has suppressed the group's political and cultural rights.
The Syrian National Council announced this month that it will "represent the Syrian revolution" inside and outside the country in an effort to end the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The council "will work on mobilizing all groups of the Syrian people and provide all kinds of necessary support to advance the revolution and achieve the goals of our people that include the toppling of the current regime, including the head of the regime, and building a democratic, multiparty system in a civilian state that provides equality to all its citizens, without any kind of discrimination," they said.
The LCC said groups including the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, the Revolution Forces, the Public Council for Revolution Forces and the Superior Council of the Revolution have all joined it in the opposition government.
The idea takes a page from the success of the National Transitional Council in Libya, where the opposition movement managed to drive strongman Moammar Gadhafi from power.
Syrian forces fire on Kurdish funeral -
Syrian security forces killed at least two people when they opened fire on tens of thousands of mourners on Saturday at the funeral of a Kurdish opposition figure, activists said. The funeral of Meshaal al-Tammo in the eastern Syrian city of Qamishli turned into a protest against President Bashar al-Assad, with mourners chanting anti-Assad slogans and calling on him to step down.
British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least two people were killed and three wounded when the funeral came under fire. It said at least 50,000 people had turned out for the funeral. Security forces also opened fire on a funeral procession for three people who were killed on Friday in the Damascus suburb of Douma, killing one mourner and wounding 10, the group said.
At least eight people were killed in anti-Assad protests after Friday prayers. Activists said on Friday that four gunmen burst into a house in the city of Qamishli, shot dead Tammo and wounded his son. It was not clear who was behind the attack.
The killing of Tammo, a respected opposition figure, angered Syrian Kurds who make up about 10 percent of Syria's 20 million population and largely support the uprising against Assad.
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