News / Middle East

Syria Blocks Internet Access Over the Weekend

FILE - An internet cable is seen in a server room.
FILE - An internet cable is seen in a server room.

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Syrians found themselves without Internet access this weekend, according to a report by an Internet intelligence firm.

In a string of tweets, the company, Renesys, reported problems began Friday with “routing instability and increase in latency.”

On Saturday, the firm reported that the main Internet connection between Turkey Syria went down, “taking down the Internet for Aleppo and northern Syria.”

Finally, on Sunday, the Internet was reported down for the entire country for about 2 hours the company tweeted. Aleppo and the north remained without Internet, according to a tweet sent Sunday morning Eastern Daylight Time.

Today, the firm reported Internet had been restored to northern Syria.

According to the firm, it was the first total Internet outage in Syria since May of 2013.

There was speculation that the move was an effort to thwart ISIL, which has made good use of the Internet, particularly social media, to spread its message.

In early June, the Iraqi government cut Internet access to Ninava, Kirkuk, Saladeldin and Anbar provinces but later restored service, but kept the blockages on social networks like YouTube, Viper, Facebook and others.

Doug Madory, an analyst at Renesys, told VOA via email that limiting accessibility as the Iraqi government had done was risky and not that effective.

“By blocking Internet services, the government of Iraq risks antagonizing the Iraqi people at a time they would probably prefer to shore up support as they engage ISIL,” Madory said.

According to Renesys, the Internet in Syria was partitioned last summer. The northern part of the country (including Aleppo) connects to the outside world via Turkey, and the rest of the country connects to the global Internet via the submarine cables which land at Tartous.

 

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