As the Syrian army escalates its eight-month siege against the city of Homs, Arab-speaking people around the world are turning to Facebook to launch an old-fashioned show of solidarity: phone calls.
“All Syrians and Arabs across the world,” reads the newly created Facebook event page #CallHoms. “Homs of Syria is under fire by the Syrian Army since 6 days , the city is under a threat of genocide. To show support to people in #Homs just #callHoms dail 00963- 31 then 21, 22, 24 or 25 then randomly 5 numbers & say ‘we r with u’ Syria.”
Homs has been the epicenter of an uprising in Syria and has brought the full wrath of the Bashar al-Assad government, whose military crackdowns has taken at least 3,500 lives, according to the United Nations.
The city has essentially been under siege since May. Last week, the Syrian military ignored a peace deal with the Arab League and opened fire on protesters. According to the BBC, the Syrian army raked the residential neighborhood of Baba Amr with machine-gun fire on Nov. 3. At least 100 people were killed.
The #CallHoms page, which urges people from all over the world to call residents of Homs from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10, has already gathered over 2,000 fans.
Facebook users are posting tales of their success in Arabic and English in the campaign.
“Just called a bunch of people they were all very happy,” Facebook user Hoda Akhras Shalabi wrote.
And if Shalabi’s experience is any indication, the campaign is also an opportunity to call out Bashar al-Assad supporters
“but unfortunately one guy was very mean,” Shalabi added, “and cursed to me and to everyone thats doesn't like bashar on the phone.”
She then posted the offending Homs resident’s phone number.
“great idea,” replied Facebook user Shatha Barbour. “annoy the hell out of him with words of kindness.”
Photo by Taras Kalapun