Leaked Files: Kurdish Leader Mishaal Tamo was killed by Direct Order from Assad

17/10/2012 RUDAW By ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Oct. 7, 2011 is an unforgettable date for Syrian Kurds; it is the day Mishaal Tamo was assassinated in Qamishli, in northeastern Syria.

Tamo was a prominent Kurdish politician and leader of the Kurdish Future Movement. He had been released after three and a half years from one of the Syrian regime’s prisons.A leading member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Tamo was considered an inspirational figure for Kurdish revolutionary youth. According to observers, this was one of the main reasons why he was assassinated. Tamo’s home in was broken into by four gunmen and he was killed. His son Marcel and a fellow activist were injured in the incident. The assassination was condemned by the U.S., who considered it a clear escalation of the regime’s tactics. The French called the assassination a “shock.”

That the identity of the executers remains unknown has ignited anger in Kurdish areas in Syria, and even among Arab activists who once knew Tamo. It has also led many Kurdish parties to exchange accusations of being behind the murder.

However, according to recently published leaked files by Al Arabiya News, Tamo was killed by a direct order from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A leaked file with the subject “operational order” was issued by Col. Saqr Mannoun and signed on Oct. 3, 2011. It included a request from the presidential palace, and was sent to a colonel in the Syrian Air Force intelligence division, Jawdat Hasan. Hasan was ordered to travel to Hasaka province to execute Tamo and return immediately.

According to Al Arabiya’s leaked files, one of the documents stamped “top secret” was sent from Col. Mannoun to Assad. This document represents confirmation of Tamo’s assassination, as requested by the president. The document reads: “Information was received about the whereabouts of Kurdish activist Mishaal Tamo, who is considered a source of concern for the Turkish government. That day, information received indicated the presence of Tamo, his son Marcel, and Kurdish activist Zahida Rashkillo at an anti-Assad meeting. Following a direct order from Brig. Jamil Hassan, head of the air force intelligence service, the house where the meeting was taking place in Qamishli was stormed and all who were present were eliminated.”

Moreover, the document points to the reason that Tamo was targeted: “It is an operation that will put the Turkish leadership in a neutral and cooperative position with regards to the crisis in Syria.”

From the Syrian regime’s view, as illustrated in the file, the Turkish government would welcome the killing of a Kurdish leader as it has been fighting the Kurds for decades. The regime wagered that such an operation would be in line with Turkish policy and play a role in neutralizing Turkey, leading to its withdrawal of support to the Syrian opposition. The head of the political bureau in the Syrian National Rally, Eman Eddin Rasheed, told Al Arabiya on Wednesday that there had been two previous failed attempts to assassinate Tamo, and added that his fellow members of the Kurdish Future Movement were pressing him to leave Syria for a neighboring country since he was targeted. Rasheed said that he has called Tamo the same day that he was killed, asking him to leave the country. But, according to Rasheed, Tamo said he wanted to participate in protests the following day before leaving Syria. “I called him on Friday morning, before prayers, and stressed that he had to leave on time. He said he was ready to leave on time as agreed. At 2 p.m., I was informed that he had been martyred,” Rasheed said.