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2 shot at Syrian opposition leader's rites

The Associated Press

BEIRUT -- Security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of mourners who turned out for the funeral of a slain Kurdish opposition leader in northeastern Syria Saturday, killing at least two people, activists said.

People marched through the streets of Qamishli in the funeral procession for Mashaal Tammo, one of Syria's most prominent opposition figures, who was gunned down Friday by masked gunmen in the city. The slaying was the latest in a string of targeted killings in Syria as the country slides further into disorder, seven months into the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

"All of Qamishli is out today, the funeral is turning into a massive protest," Kurdish activist and lawyer Mustafa Osso told The Associated Press, as the grieving cries of fellow mourners were heard through the phone.

The mourners swelling through Qamishli's streets called on Assad to step down, with chants of "Leave, Leave." Osso said more than 50,000 people were on Qamishli's streets to take part in the funeral.

Security forces opened fire during the funeral procession, killing two mourners and wounding several others, he said.

The Local Coordination Committee's activist network also said one person was killed and others were injured by the gunfire. The group said the city was shut down after a general strike was declared to mourn Tammo.

Tammo, 53, a former political prisoner and a spokesman for the Kurdish Future Party, was also a member of the executive committee of the newly formed Syrian National Council, a broad-based front bringing together opposition figures inside and outside the country in an attempt to unify the deeply fragmented dissident movement.

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