From speaking regularly to activists in the city, as well as to those elsewhere in Syria, it strikes me that the reaction of the Assad regime to protests in Qamishli has been much softer than in the south. Do they fear fanning the flames of Kurdish unrest before having put out fires elsewhere in the country?
If Damascus eventually uses the same ruthless military tactics against its Kurds as it has in Deraa, Homs, and Baniyas, it could provoke an influx of refugees and spark Kurdish unrest on the other side of the border.
You can read my report here.
For the first and last word on this important and much neglected issue, see the excellent blog www.tarlabasiistanbul.com by Constanze Letsch and Jonathan Lewis.