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Tech Security Firm Charts Syrian Internet Shutdown

Syria spent most of the weekend without internet, after services were shutdown across most of the country on Thursday before being restored on Saturday in one of the biggest tech shutdowns of its kind in history.

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Syria spent most of the weekend without internet, after services were shutdown across most of the country on Thursday before being restored on Saturday in one of the biggest tech shutdowns of its kind in history.

Internet connectivity has previously been shut-down to geographically specific areas around Syria during military operations over the course of the last 18 months, but the wider blackout was unprecedented, with only a small number of activists maintaining connectivity with satellite phones.

Initial confusion and finger-pointing between Government officials and oppositions activists as to who was responsible for the blackout was soon refuted by technology security firm Cloudflare who produced the following video of the gradual shut-down of the connections into the country:

Syrian internet is only allowed to operate within the infrastructure of the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE), leading Cloudflare to state on their blog: “The systematic way in which routes were withdrawn suggests that this was done through updates in router configurations, not through a physical failure or cable cut.”

Cloudflare again charted the change in network usage as the systems came back online on Saturday afternoon over a period of several hours.

The initial shutdown coincided with a large battle for control of Damascus Airport between rebels and regime forces which resulted in the suspension of flights into the capital from most airlines. After attempts to resume flights into the Syrian capital today were aborted due to heavy fighting in the vicinity of the airport, flights were again suspended for a number of days.