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Top Kurd killed in Syria, US calls on Assad to go

By Haris Afzal on Saturday, October 8, 2011 with 0 comments

Top Kurd killed in Syria, US calls on Assad to go
DAMASCUS: A top Kurdish activist and 16 other people were killed Friday as thousands rallied in support of a new opposition

front, activists said, as Washington called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to "step down now".

The latest violence came as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Assad will have to leave power if he fails to implement

reforms acceptable to the opposition, and Damascus again blamed "terrorists" for the unrest.

Kurdish activist and opposition spokesman Meshaal Tamo, 53, was killed when four masked gunmen stormed his house in

Qamishli in the north and opened fire, also wounding his son and another fellow activist in the Kurdish Future Party, activists

said.

Assad's regime is escalating its tactics against the opposition with bold, daylight attacks on its leaders, the US State

Department charged.

"This is a clear escalation of regime tactics," 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.

In a statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney condemned the attacks, saying they showed "again that the Assad

regime's promises for dialogue and reform are hollow".

France also condemned the Syrian regime's "brutal violence" in its crackdown on the opposition and said it was "shocked" by

Tamo's murder.

A foreign ministry statement said the violence "shows that the regime of Bashar al-Assad remains deaf to the appeals of the

international community".

The official SANA news agency reported Tamo's "assassination" but gave a different account of his death, saying he was killed

"by gunmen in a black car who fired at his car".

Tamo, a member of the newly formed Syrian National Council (SNC) opposition grouping, had been released recently after

three and a half years in prison.

Elsewhere, 11 civilians were shot dead in the central city of Homs by security forces, three in Douma and one in Zabadani

northwest of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Another man died after being shot by security forces in the flashpoint northern town of Jisr al-Shughur near the Turkish border,

the Local Coordination Committees activist network reported.

Meanwhile, ex-MP Seif had to be given hospital treatment after being beaten outside a mosque in the capital's commercial

neighbourhood of Medan.

Mosques in Syria, as happens every week, again became springboards for Friday anti-regime protests, also this time in

support of the SNC, formed to represent the main opposition groups, activists said. (AFP)

Category: World

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