Syrian forces fire on 50,000 mourning slain Kurd


Syrian security forces killed at least two people when they opened fire on 50,000 people at the funeral of assassinated Kurdish opposition figure Meshaal Tamo on Saturday, activists said.
The shooting, which also wounded several others, came a day after nationwide rallies against President Bashar al-Assad and in support of a newly formed opposition front, the Syrian National Council, of which Tamo was a member. “Two people were killed during a shooting against the funeral procession of the martyr Meshaal Tamo in the city of Qamishli,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement, adding several others were hurt.
The Local Coordination Committees, a pro-democracy activist network, had previously reported that one person was killed and several others were wounded at the funeral. The funeral for Tamo, who was gunned down in public in Qamishli in the north, turned into a mass rally with more than 50,000 demonstrators calling for fall of the Assad regime, the activists said. Tamo’s son and a fellow activist, Zahida Rashkilo of the Kurdish Future Party, were also wounded in the attack, they said.
Tamo founded the liberal Kurdish Future Party, which considers Kurds an integral part of Syria, and had been recently released after three and a half years in prison. His assassination also sparked indignation abroad. In Austria, 11 opponents of the Assad regime were arrested overnight after they invaded the Syrian embassy in Vienna and demonstrated on the balcony, police said Saturday.
In Lebanon, 50 activists including Kurds gathered outside the Syrian embassy in Beirut amid tight security to demand Assad step down. The US on Friday said Assad’s regime is escalating its tactics against the opposition with bold attacks on its leaders, while France said it was “shocked” by the news of the murder. “This is a clear escalation of regime tactics,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, referring to reports of Tamo’s murder, as well as the beating on Friday of former MP Riad Seif.
Nuland said both opposition leaders were attacked in broad daylight. France condemned the regime’s brutal violence in its crackdown on the opposition which, according to activists, left 16 people dead during countrywide anti-regime rallies after the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday. “We are shocked by the assassination of opposition figure Meshaal Tamo… and by the attack on opposition figure Riad Seif,” a French foreign ministry spokesman said.