Prominent Syrian Kurdish politician and activist Mashaal Tammo was murdered on Oct. 7, 2011 with direct orders from President Bashar al-Assad, leaked files aired by Al Arabiya on Wednesday revealed.
Four gunmen broke into the home of Tammo, a vocal critic of President Assad, in the eastern city of Qamishli, killing him and wounding his son Marcel and a fellow activist in the liberal Kurdish Future Movement Party, which Tammou had founded in 2005.
A leaked file with the subject line “operational order” signed on Oct. 3, 2011 was issued by Col. Saqr Mannoun, upon a request from the presidential palace, and was sent to Col. Jawdat Hasan, of the air force intelligence division. Col. Hasan was ordered to travel immediately to the province of Hasaka, execute Tammo and then return back immediately.
Tammo was a member of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and had been released recently after spending three and a half years in prison.
Tammo’s killing sparked indignation at home and abroad. More than 50,000 people rallied in his funeral, on which government forces opened fire, killing five people
The United States condemned Tammo’s killing as a “clear escalation of regime tactics.” France said it was “shocked” by the news of Tammo’s assassination.
Eman Eddin al-Rasheed, head of the Political Bureau in the Syrian National Rally, told Al Arabiya that there were previously two failed attempts to assassinate the Tammo and that his fellow Future Movement Party members were pressing him to leave Syria. Al-Rasheed said that he personally spoke to Tammo on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 and asked him to leave the country. Tammo responded that he would just attend protests on the following day, Friday, and leave, according Rasheed.
“I called him on Friday morning, before prayers, and stressed that he had to leave on time. He said I am ready to leave on time as agreed. At 2 p.m. I was informed that he was martyred,” Rasheed said.
A document stamped “top secret” and undated, for apparently security reasons, was sent to President Bashar al-Assad from Col. Saqr Mannoun. The document confirms the assassination of Tammo based a presidential order dated Sept. 22, 2011.
Information was received about the whereabouts of Kurdish activist Mashaal Temmo, who is considered a source of concern for the Turkish government. That day, information received indicated the presence of Temmo, his son Marcel, and Kurdish activist Zahida Rashkilio at an anti-Assad meeting. Following a direct order from Brigadier Jamil Hassan, head of the Air Force Intelligence Service, the house where the meeting was taking place in al-Qamishli was stormed and all that were present were eliminated,” the document stated.
The file reveals clues of why Tammo was targeted. The document pointed to “an operation that will put the Turkish leadership in a neutral and cooperative position with regards to the crisis in Syria.”
Turkey has fighting Kurdish separatists for decades and the killing of a Kurdish leader, from Damascus’s view as shown in the file, would be welcome by Ankara.
(The next episode of Al Arabiya’s Syria Leaks will be aired on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012)