BEIRUT – More than 50,000 mourners marched through the capital of Syria’s Kurdish heartland Saturday in a funeral procession for one of the country’s most prominent opposition figures a day after his assassination. Security forces fired into the crowds, killing five people, witnesses said.
The turnout was by far the largest in the Kurdish northeast since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime seven months ago.
But it remains to be seen whether Friday’s slaying of charismatic Kurdish opposition figure Mashaal Tammo will trigger a sustained, large-scale outpouring by Syria’s Kurds that might bolster the wider uprising against Assad taking place across the nation.
Despite the gunfire, crowds pouring into the streets of Qamishli called on Assad to step down, chanting, “Leave! Leave!” – adopting the cry used by tens of thousands of other Syrian protesters during the uprising.
Tammo was killed Friday by masked men who burst into an apartment and gunned him down.