The New York Times reports large anti-government protests are occurring across Syria today.
"Thousands of people assembled in a belt of suburbs around Damascus, the capital; in the central city of Homs; and in the besieged southern town of Dara'a, which has been isolated behind a tight security cordon since the early days of unrest in mid-March," the New York Times' Liam Stack and Katherine Zoepf write. Friday has become a popular day for demonstrations in the region.
The United States and European nations have urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to exercise restraint, but have not called on him to step down.
U.S. officials said this week they have evidence that Iran is providing material assistance to the Assad regime in its brutal crackdown against the unrest.
Here's a YouTube video of protesters shouting "leave, leave!" in a demonstration in Dara'a Friday:
Protesters came out in force despite Syrian security forces detaining hundreds and subjecting them to torture and ill-treatment, according to a report from Human Rights Watch on Friday.
"The security and intelligence services, commonly referred to as mukhabarat, have also arrested lawyers, activists, and journalists who endorsed or promoted the protests," Human Rights Watch said. Those interviewed by the group said they and other detainees "were subjected to other forms of torture, including electro-shock devices, cables, and whips."
Here's a Syrian protest music video posted to YouTube: