Assassination of Syrian Kurdish Leader Triggers Call to Arms Against Jihadists

BEIRUT – Middle East Online 31.7.2013 – Syria’s main Kurdish militia on Tuesday issued a call to arms to all Kurds to fight jihadists after the assassination of a Kurdish leader, a watchdog said.

“The Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) called on all those fit to carry weapons to join their ranks, to protect areas under their control from attacks by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) fighters, Al-Nusra Front and other battalions,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Supreme Kurdish Council is a platform bringing together Kurdish groups in Syria. The call to arms comes weeks into fighting between Kurds and jihadists in several areas of northern Syria. The leading Syrian Kurdish politician was killed early Tuesday after a car bomb blew up outside his home near the northern border with Turkey, a pro-Kurdish news agency reported.

Isa Huso, a member of the Supreme Kurdish Council diplomacy committee was assassinated as he left his house at 0900 GMT in the Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli, the Firat news agency reported on its website.

Huso, 60, had worked for Kurdish freedom and actively participated in the founding congress of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).The Firat report did not say who is suspected of the killing. Syria’s Kurds live in areas rich in resources but have long been marginalised under President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which has been accused by rights watchdogs of cracking down on the minority group. Since the start of the conflict, the Syrian army has withdrawn from most Kurdish areas in the north of the country and the PYD has taken control of some Syrian towns on the border with Turkey. Huso, married with 10 children, often became a target of the Syrian regime while fighting for freedom. He was arrested five times, subjected to torture and served a one-year prison sentence, according to Firat.