Mashaal Tammo

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Mashaal Tammo, also Mash'al Tammo (Arabic: مشعل تمو Mashʿal Tammo, Kurmanji: Mişel Temo; 1958 – October 7, 2011) was a Syrian politician and activist who supported the interests of the minority of the Kurds.

Tammo was released in 2010 after spending more than three years in jail. He founded the liberal Kurdish Future Movement Party and angered both the government and rivals in the Kurdish community with his outspoken support for a pluralistic democratic state, in which Kurds would be an essential component.[1] Tammo's stance had even led him to dissociate his party from the Syrian Kurdish political scene. When he met with representatives from the major Kurdish parties in Syria following his release from prison, he announced to them that "he did not belong to the Kurdish movement, but was a part of the Syrian revolution." When the other politicians asked him if he would reconsider his position and allow that Kurds were a part of the revolution, he refused to do so and withdrew the Future Movement from alliance with the rest of the Kurdish parties. Though he later tried to rejoin the alliance, the other parties blocked any such action.[2]

He was also a member of the executive committee of the newly formed Syrian National Council, a broad-based front bringing together opposition figures inside and outside the country in an attempt to unify the deeply fragmented dissident movement.[3]

In the turmoil of the 2011 Syrian uprising, Tammo was assassinated by masked men who burst into an apartment and gunned him down on 7 October 2011. The next day, more than 50,000 mourners marched through Qamishli in a funeral procession for him. Security forces fired into the crowds, killing five people.[3] Tammo's son, Fares Tammo, has urged Syria's Kurds to throw their support behind the revolt, telling the New York Times: "My father's assassination is the screw in the regime's coffin. They made a big mistake by killing my father."[4]

The Kurdistan Workers' Party, however, accused the government in Turkey of carrying out the assassination stating that "this assassination against a Kurdish politician [was] carried out by Turkey. Turkey already has a very profound history record of political assassinations on the Kurdish people and other ethnic backgrounds, both in Turkey and in the region."[5] In April 2014, a former Mukhabarat officer from Serêkanîye accused the Kurdistan Workers' Party militia of having assassinated Tamo after receiving orders to this effect from Damascus.[6]