Syria shuts off mobile and internet communications

Internet access was cut off in Syria on Thursday November 29th, according to several internet network companies. Phone networks were also heavily disrupted in much of the country.

Renesys, an internet monitoring company, declared that “all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the internet”. According to its systems, access was disconnected at 12.26pm local time.

Syrian opposition forces view the outages as a concerted attempt by the regime to hinder their preparations for launching military operations. The government move yesterday came as the Free Syrian Army try to co-ordinate an assault on Damascus. Syria’s information minister meanwhile blamed “terrorists” for the disruption.

Since the uprising began in March 2011, Syrian authorities have frequently shut down communication networks in opposition-held areas, but, until yesterday, they had never cut web and telephone access nationwide. Syrian activists have regularly used the internet to post video footage of attacks and alleged atrocities committed by the Assad government.

Reuters however reported that activists were finding ways around the block, by using satellite phones to relate information to the outside world.

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Original Photo Source: FreedomHouse @