Syria: attacks on Kurdish funeral could set the northeast Syria on fire

Reports are now coming in on attacks by security forces on the funeral procession of slain Kurdish opposition leader Masha’al al-Tammo.

Gunmen shot dead prominent Syrian Kurdish opposition figure Mishaal al-Tammo. (File photo)

It is likely that this will be another defining movement in the uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Kurdish areas in Syria have been relatively calm during the last months as opposed to Sunni-Arab dominated cities/areas in central and northwest Syria. It is difficult to imagine that the assassination of al-Tammo and the attack on the 50 000 strong funeral procession not will ignite the powder keg that is the northeast of Syria. How this will play out is in the hands of the Sunni-Arab tribes of the region.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad have in the past armed these tribes and used them as a sort of extended militia with which to keep the Kurds under control. But this was in the past, before the onslaught by Maher al-Assads 4th armored division, the shabiha thugs and security forces on the Sunni-Arab dominated cities of, among other, Homs, Hama, Jishr al Shugur and al-Rastan. If the Sunni-Arab tribes join the Kurds in opposition of the Assad regime the Hasake will be lost to the regime. If on the other hand the Sunni-Arab tribes remain loyal to the regime this could precipitate an armed conflict. With Kurdish families and tribes in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran such an armed conflict could quickly become regional.

About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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