PLEA FOR PROTECTION
The Syrian Revolution Facebook group, after months of encouraging Syrians to rise up and bring down the regime, has turned its attention directly to the international community. The "Friday of International Protection" protests feature the tagline: "We ask for civilians to be protected" on the group's home page. The home-page banner also features images of the Turkish, European Union and United Nations flags. Group administrators urged the UN to pass a resolution that would set up a "permanent observer mission in Syria."
As the siege of Homs continues, YouTube filled up on Friday with dozens of video clips of protests in the central Syrian city. Here, a demonstration in a side street during which a protester holds up a banner that reads: "NO to any messages or initiatives that do not stop the killings. We demand international protection."
The Syrian army, meanwhile, rolled into the small northwestern town of Idleen, searching for army defectors. They stormed the home belonging to the brother of Hussein Harmouche, a lieutenant colonel who quit the army in June and posted a widely seen video explaining why. Three people were reported killed in the raid, though the victims' identities are not known, nor is it clear whether Hussein Harmouche was at the home.
In the by now famous video, Harmouche reads a statement, as the Syrian flag hangs on the wall behind him, declaring that he is joining the Free Syrian Army, whose "current mission is to protect the unarmed demonstrators who are demanding freedom and democracy. Harmouche abandoned the army because he was ordered to fire on civilians. His statement with English subtitles is here.
Iraqi website kitabat.com mourns the death of Hadi al-Mahdi, a well-known Iraqi journalist who was shot in the head Thursday evening. Al-Mahdi was a regular contributor to the site, in addition to hosting a radio show and writing plays. He was known as a harsh critic of the government, particularly after being arrested in February during a protest in Baghdad. Mahdi described the conditions in the jail where he was held as "brutal and inhuman." The site calls for protests in Mahdi's name, urging Iraqis to demand better from their government and to continue the journalist's mission. "Change and reform are in the hands of the people," one of the headlines reads.