More than 100,000 thousand Syrians rallied against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday during the funeral of Mishaal Tammo, a Kurdish opposition figure slain the previous day, Abdessalam Othman, of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, told Al Arabiya.
Othman said security forces in civilian clothing randomly opened fire on demonstrators, killing five and wounding dozens.
Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more 50,000 people were participating in the Tammo’s funeral.
Protesters also took on the streets in the northern eastern cities of Amouda and al-Dirbasiya.
In the central city of Homs, roads were blocked to prevent protesters from demonstrating and communication was cut.
Gunmen shot dead Tammo on Friday in his home in the east of the country, activists said.
Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said four gunmen entered the house in Qamishli, shooting Tammo dead and wounding his brother, Reuters reported.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees said Tammo “was killed on Friday at his home by unidentified men. His son as well as female activist Zahida Rashkilo were wounded.”
The official SANA news agency reported “the assassination,” but gave a different account of Tammo’s death. It said he was killed “by gunmen in a black car who fired at his car.”
Tammo founded the liberal Kurdish Future Party, which considers the Kurds to be an integral part of Syria.
He was a member of the newly formed 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.
The United States said Assad’s regime is escalating its tactics against the opposition with bold, daylight attacks on its leaders, while France said it was “shocked” by the news of the murder.
“This is a clear escalation of regime tactics,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, referring to reports of Tammo’s murder, as well as the beating on Friday of former MP Riad Seif.
Nuland said both opposition leaders were attacked in broad daylight.
France condemned the regime’s “brutal violence” in its crackdown on the opposition.
“We are shocked by the assassination of opposition figure Mishaal Tammo… and by the attack on opposition figure Riad Seif,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
Seif, a former lawmaker, had to be given hospital treatment after being beaten outside a mosque in the capital’s commercial neighborhood of Medan.
Before the news of Tammo’s killing, a prominent Sheikh from the opposition was killed.