[QODLink]
Middle East

Syria cut off from global internet

International internet companies say Syria has been disconnected from "internet communication with the rest of world".

Last Modified: 08 May 2013 09:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Citizen journalists have relied on the internet to show the world what is happening inside Syria [AP]

Syria's Internet blackout entered into its second consecutive day, which the state news agency blamed on a fault in optical fibre cables.

Landline phone services between Syrian provinces have also been down since Tuesday, SANA said on Wednesday.

"Internet services and phonecalls between provinces were cut off Tuesday evening because of a fault in optical fibre cables," SANA said.

"Efforts are ongoing to fix the faults and to bring Internet and telephone services back up as soon as possible," the agency said quoting a communications official.

Tuesday's shutdown effectively "disconnects Syria from Internet communication with the rest of the world," according to companies that monitor online traffic around the world.

Google's Transparency Report pages showed traffic to Google services pages from the country, embroiled in a civil war that has lasted more than two years, suddenly stopping shortly before 1900 GMT.

Google traffic reports continued to show no activity there several hours after the drop-off.

"We've seen this twice before," said Christine Chen, Google's senior manager for free expression. "This happened in Syria last November and in Egypt during the Arab Spring."

Cause undetermined

It is virtually impossible to definitely determine the cause of such disruptions unless a party claims responsibility, experts said.

Jim Cowie, chief technology officer at Renesys, a US company that tracks global Internet traffic, said the outage looked similar to the one seen last November.

"We don't see any effects in neighbouring countries, and we don't see anything to suggest that the outage was caused by damage to one or another of the several cables that connect Syria with the outside world," he said.

The vast majority of websites within Syria were rendered unreachable as well, other experts said, as the county appeared to shut itself off.

As during Arab Spring disruptions, Google said its Speak2Tweet service, which broadcasts voice messages, was up and running in Syria for people with access to a phone.

Syrian authorities have cut phone and Internet service in select areas in the past to disrupt rebel communication when regime forces are conducting major operations. 

 
Google Transparency report graph providing data on internet usage in Syria (08:00 GMT, May 8)

410

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
join our mailing list