Authorities often disrupt communications in areas where the army is about to conduct military operations [Reuters]
Internet services are down across Syria and mobile phone services have been disrupted in some areas, as rebels and government troops clashed near the capital’s airport.
The length of Thursday’s internet blackout, confirmed by US-based companies that monitor online connectivity, is unprecedented in Syria’s 20-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Renesys, a US-based network security firm that studies internet disruptions, said Syria effectively disappeared from the internet at 12:26pm local time.
It said the main autonomous system responsible for the internet in the country is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, and that “all of their customer networks are currently unreachable”.
Syrian state TV denied the blackout was nationwide. It said the outage was caused by a technical failure, only affected some provinces, and that technicians were trying to fix the problem.
The government has previously cut phone lines and internet access in areas where regime forces are about to conduct major military operations.
Syria’s minister of information said “terrorists”, not the state, were responsible for the outage, a pro-government TV station reported.
“It is not true that the state cut the internet. The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off,” he was quoted by al-Ikhbariya as saying.
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This is supposedly what Anonymous has to say about it.
“Anonymous has done an exhaustive analysis of the Internet shut-down in Syria and we have concluded that the Syrian regime has physically severed the fiber-optic and coaxial cables coming into Syria. Essentially, they have physically “pulled the plug out of the wall”. As we discovered in Egypt, where the dictator Mubarak did something similar – this is not damage that can be easily or quickly repaired.
Fortunately, Anonymous has been working with Syrian activists for well over a year in anticipation of this moment. We produced and disseminated the Syrian Care Package – and there are emergency independent media centers already set up in every city of Syria. Activists and independent journalists in Syria will be able to utilize these media centers to get news and media out of Syria, and Anonymous will assist in propagating that media to the world. Anonymous will keep open the lines of telecommunication with the free Syrian people.”
Beginning at 9:00 PM ET USA [on Thursday] Anonymous will begin removing from the Internet all web assets belonging to the Assad regime that are NOT hosted in Syria. We will begin with the websites and servers belonging to ALL Syrian Embassies abroad, which we will begin systematically removing from the Internet tonight.
Who knows. Anonymous may have also saved the USA from a Republican president by blocking vote fraud (see my previous entry).