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November 29, 2012

Syrian internet access shut down

War-torn country is "effectively off the internet" according to reports

By Steve Evans

Internet and mobile communication access in Syria has been cut off, according to multiple sources.

According to reports, the country, currently experiencing a bloody civil war, has had no internet access and intermittent mobile phone coverage for a number of hours. There is no indication at the moment who is behind the outage.

Renesys, a company that monitors internet connections across the globe in real-time, first noticed the issue.

On its blog the company wrote: "Starting at 10:26 UTC (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria’s international Internet connectivity shut down. In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet."

An update to the post said there are a few connections in and out of Syria that are still active. However these are networks that are using Syrian IP addresses, but "the originator of the routes is actually Tata Communications. These are potentially offshore, rather than domestic, and perhaps not subject to whatever killswitch was thrown today within Syria," the post added.

"These five offshore survivors include the webservers that were implicated in the delivery of malware targeting Syrian activists in May of this year," Renesys said.

Akamai’s State of the Internet service backed up the claims from Renesys. Syria is "effectively off the internet," the company said on Twitter.

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Akamai Syria
Source: Akamai

Google too has noticed the issue, reporting that citizens in Syria cannot connect to any of its services.

Google Syria
Source: Google

As the BBC points out the Syrian government has previously cut off access to the internet during what it calls major operations. Amnesty International said the reports were "very disturbing."

The reports echo similar situations in Egypt and Libya, when the governments there stopped citizens getting online in an attempt to disrupt the flow of information about the Arab Spring uprisings.

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