Activist’s death opens ‘gates of hell,’ say Syrian Kurds

Iraq reportedly propping up Assad regime to curry favor with Iran; 50,000 people allegedly turn out for funeral of charismatic Kurdish opposition figure.

By OREN KESSLER
October 10, 2011 04:57
2 minute read.
Slain Syrian-Kurdish opposition leader Tammo

Meshaal al Tammo 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Syria’s Kurds called for an uprising on Sunday to avenge the death of a charismatic Kurdish opposition figure killed two days before, Arabic media reported.

London’s Asharq Alawsat daily reported that at least four mourners were killed Saturday in the northeast city of Qamishli while marching in the funeral procession for the activist, Meshaal Tammo.

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The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some 50,000 people had turned out for the funeral.

“The gates of hell have been opened on these gangs,” Kurdish activists were quoted as saying. “The last nails will be quickly hammered in their coffin.”

Witnesses said four gunmen burst into Tammo’s home in Qamishli on Friday, shooting the dissident dead and wounding his son. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Tammo’s supporters have placed the blame squarely on the Assad regime.

Asharq Alawsat editor-inchief Tariq Alhomayed wrote in an op-ed on Sunday that if the regime was indeed behind the assassination, it has achieved the unintended goal of allying Syria’s Kurds squarely with the rest of the country’s opposition.

“Skeptics of the Syrian revolution have long said that the opposition is incapable of unifying its ranks, citing as evidence the delay in the formation of the Syrian National Council and the differences between the Syrian and Kurdish opposition,” he wrote.

With Tammo’s assassination, however, the “regime has in fact been able to dramatically unite the Syrian ranks... No longer can any of the Kurds be allies of the Assad regime, not to mention those who are committed to neutrality,” wrote Alhomayed.

“The Syrians today, of all walks of life, are partners in the blood that the Assad regime has spilled in Syria.”

Meanwhile, Syria’s war-torn neighbor Iraq is reportedly taking steps to prop up the Damascus regime, in an apparent sign that the Baghdad government may be moving away from the American- backed regional camp and into a closer alliance with Iran.

While other Arab governments have sought in recent months to distance themselves from Syria, Iraq has made the opposite shift, providing substantial moral and financial support to Damascus, according to The Washington Post.

Speaking on Iraqi television last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said he believes Syria “will be able to overcome its crisis through reforms,” an echo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s earlier remarks that Syrians should “implement the necessary reforms by themselves.”

The Washington Post reported that Baghdad’s ties with Syria have recently included official visits by Syrian officials, expanding business links and offering political support.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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