Syria pulls the plug, Internet traffic comes to a halt

By on November 29, 2012, 5:30 PM

Syria's tether to the digital world appears to have been severed, cutting off Internet access to and from the country entirely. In addition to an apparent Internet blackout, Syrians may also be facing isolated landline and cellular phone service disruptions according to the Associated Press and a growing number of unverified reports (e.g. #SyriaBlackout).

Update (12/1): CNN informs that voice communication and Internet service has been reestablished in most regions of the country. The news come about 48 hours after the blackout, as reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The original story follows below.

Around 5:26 AM EST, Syrian Internet traffic ceased with all 84 IP blocks assigned to the country becoming unreachable. Internet research firm Renesys was first to report the incident. Since then, Akamai and Google have corroborated the company's findings amidst various reports of service disruptions and real-world tumult. 

The exact cause is unknown, but many speculators presume the communications blackout is a government-led attempt to halt the spread of information and disadvantage Syrian rebels. However, according to Reuters, a pro-government television station has reported that Syria's minster of information blames "terrorists" for the Internet blackout -- presumably rebel forces. 

It's worth noting that this is not the first time that Syria has gone dark. In June 2011, the Syrian government pulled the plug on most of the country, leaving only select few government-owned network prefixes active. The outage lasted for about a day and included at least one 3G-capable cellular provider.

The outage coincides with a tense battle between rebels and loyalists just outside Damascus, a fight which has blocked access to an International airport. "Rebels and activists said the fighting along the road to Damascus airport, southeast of the capital, was heavier in that area than at any other time in the conflict.", reports Reuters.

In the past, other governments have shut down Internet access in order contain the flow of information inside and outside their geopolitical borders. Such blackouts also slow the ability of protesters and opposition forces to communicate and organize. A recent example of this was a five-day blackout in Egypt which was used to snuff out media coverage of protests challenging President Hosni Mubarak. During this time, Google introduced a speak-to-tweet service which allowed Egyptians to send tweet via telephone.




User Comments: 24

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Classified1 said:

Yea but where is the mbps scale, we can't assume that it reaches zerom don't let the graph fool you,

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This sort of takes the wind out of the sails of he boast the internet is an instrument of social change, capable of bringing down governments.

Perhaps it is, but only if it stays plugged in.

3 people like this | tekman42 said:

They are NOT completely shut down...I have visited 2 separate University websites in Syria

http://ypu.edu.sy/

http://alfuratuniv.edu.sy/

Both websites ARE up and available and tracert to both using dns provides a complete route to both websites ip addresses.

I would say the university websites are NOT shut down yet.

Respectfully

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

They didnt' shut down... they just all switched over to Sprint. Sprint's network speed can be accurately represented by a horizontal line along the bottom of a graph. If the graph were in kbps, you'd see some little bumps.

tekman42 said:

I just ran through ALL 18 listed university sites IN SYRIA....only 5 were reachable via the web AND trace route.

I have the tracert info saved for all five to show the traces completed and via what routes they were available as well as I have all five website home pages to these universities open in IE10 right now!

Respectfully.

tekman42 said:

Some of the main universities are down and unreachable via tracert but about half are both state ran and private. For standard web browsing these are the only websites "inside" Syria I've been able to reach via dns. One university isn't viable any longer, it's domain is up for sale so about half ARE open without using Sprint!

They shut down 90%+ or more but not all are unplugged yet

Respectfully

misor misor said:

They didnt' shut down... they just all switched over to Sprint. Sprint's network speed can be accurately represented by a horizontal line along the bottom of a graph. If the graph were in kbps, you'd see some little bumps.

time for a LOL.

...before the epic battle for the liberation of syria

a. from the hands of the terrorists, according to syrian government.

b. from the hands of a brutal regime, according to the syrian rebels.

olibenu said:

Can't they learn from Egypt? When people don't have the internet, they come out!!

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

time for a LOL.

...before the epic battle for the liberation of syria

a. from the hands of the terrorists, according to syrian government.

b. from the hands of a brutal regime, according to the syrian rebels.

Yeah right, every faction is a spin doctor.

The collateral goings on in "the new democratic Egypt", lead me to believe that there's a tiger behind all three doors in an Islamist revolution, making me abundantly indifferent to who the ultimate winner may be. Well, as long as it's not Hamas

misor misor said:

Can't they learn from Egypt? When people don't have the internet, they come out!!

in my country, when there is no internet and when there is a power interruption, we multiply.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah right, every faction is a spin doctor.

Trouble is, for every grouping there are supporters as well, who provide them with 'covert' help, e.g. weapons + money + training. And to top it off, they also defend those groupings to justify killings in the name of 'freedom' and 'people'.

in my country, when there is no internet and when there is a power interruption, we multiply.

Don't worry, 'multiplication' has been happening ever since well who knows ........... technology or rather lack of it have nothing to do with it

Tygerstrike said:

Kinda feel bad for everyone in Syria. I'm sure much like any conflict, it's those who haven't helped ANY side that suffer the most. I truly hope a resolution can be made for their sakes. With the lose of the Internet the Syrian ppl suffer not only the ability to follow where the fighting is, but the ability to contact family easily outside Syria.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Don't worry, 'multiplication' has been happening ever since well who knows ........... technology or rather lack of it have nothing to do with it
Indeed, and if the ads I've seen on TV begging for relief aid are any indication, lack of food, lack of water, and lack of hope, seem to, paradoxically, promote it in abundance

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Those sites are hosted in US , UK , Canada , EU not in Syria.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Some of the main universities are down and unreachable via tracert but about half are both state ran and private. For standard web browsing these are the only websites "inside" Syria I've been able to reach via dns. One university isn't viable any longer, it's domain is up for sale so about half ARE open without using Sprint!

They shut down 90%+ or more but not all are unplugged yet

Respectfully

Why do you keep signing your posts "Respectfully"? The internet isn't a place of respect.

Guest said:

I didnt check them all but those sites might not be inside Syria. I only checked 2 of them and they are not hosted inside Syria.

A website having a .sy domain doesnt mean they are inside syria.

ypu.edu.sy : 109.75.174.100

inetnum: 109.75.174.100 - 109.75.174.103

netname: WHUK-10422

descr: WebHosting UK Com LTD server

remarks: Please contact abuse@eukhost.com for Abuse complaints.

country: GB

You just failed on trying to be smart

tekman42 said:

Some of the main universities are down and unreachable via tracert but about half are both state ran and private. For standard web browsing these are the only websites "inside" Syria I've been able to reach via dns. One university isn't viable any longer, it's domain is up for sale so about half ARE open without using Sprint!

They shut down 90%+ or more but not all are unplugged yet

Respectfully

Why do you keep signing your posts "Respectfully"? The internet isn't a place of respect.

Some of the main universities are down and unreachable via tracert but about half are both state ran and private. For standard web browsing these are the only websites "inside" Syria I've been able to reach via dns. One university isn't viable any longer, it's domain is up for sale so about half ARE open without using Sprint!

They shut down 90%+ or more but not all are unplugged yet

Respectfully

Why do you keep signing your posts "Respectfully"? The internet isn't a place of respect.

I figure one of those rules we all follow or at least should...You GET what you GIVE...is a good policy to have when posting online, at least for myself...that's all.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I
Why do you keep signing your posts "Respectfully"? The internet isn't a place of respect.
figure one of those rules we all follow or at least should...You GET what you GIVE...is a good policy to have when posting online, at least for myself...that's all.
I'm probably the worst member in the world to get in the middle of this. OTOH, I won't let a silly thing like that stop me.

A post isn't a letter. Since that's a given, it really doesn't need to adhere to a formal structure. A disrespectful post, will reveal itself in its content.

From a personal standpoint, I have no intention of excusing myself for disagreeing, or disguising a difference of opinion with platitudes.

Others of course, are free to do as they see fit.

tekman42 said:

I didnt check them all but those sites might not be inside Syria. I only checked 2 of them and they are not hosted inside Syria.

A website having a .sy domain doesnt mean they are inside syria.

ypu.edu.sy : 109.75.174.100

inetnum: 109.75.174.100 - 109.75.174.103

netname: WHUK-10422

descr: WebHosting UK Com LTD server

remarks: Please contact abuse@eukhost.com for Abuse complaints.

country: GB

You just failed on trying to be smart

Well how about this then...I can ASSURE you those universities are inside Syria and if you can post to that universities website or access it's email system or blackboard system or whatever they use for hosting online communications or video conferencing...then...you CAN speak to people INSIDE Syria or at least maybe get written communications to those actually inside Syria.

To believe I was trying to be smart or a show off when an entire country is being disconnected from the global internet community...Forcibly...displays a massive amount of disrespect for someone you do NOT know at all and infers you have some kind of personality issues of your own you may need to address before jumping on others who are just trying to help.

I'm sorry you have to see this as offensive to you but it wasn't done for you or because of you....In my world...YOU...don't and never will...exist, and have no right to accuse me of anything period.

Please go be a troll someplace else and leave me alone!

What I posted wasn't to offend or garner attention....I just wanted to show there may be some communications still possible to those there in Syria and maybe somebody that read the posts may still be able to communicate with family or loved ones stuck inside Syria via one of those university's websites.

Like I said...You GET what you GIVE.

Respectfully,

tekman42 said:

I say you can speak to or write to those inside Syria...to be fair...some of those university sites may be hosted in other nations even though the domain name IS and DOES belong to Syria via government or educational assignments of domains and the hosting if done outside the reach of the government inside Syria would remain open...so you may be able to post to the email system or video conferencing systems for those universities but if there isn't a line open between the site of the host and the Syrian peoples...you may or may not be able to get word in...depends on how the sites talk to people or students inside Syria...I just meant there may be a line of communications still up between students and faculty of the university who physically reside inside Syria.

I apologize if offense was taken!

Respectfully,

Ahmed90 Ahmed90 said:

Its not a blackout I am Iraqi I live in Damascus there was a technical issue

international internet was down for 2 days its fixed and back online today

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Its not a blackout I am Iraqi I live in Damascus there was a technical issue

international internet was down for 2 days its fixed and back online today

So, really what you're saying is, "it's not a blackout...(wait for it)......."anymore"....."!

Ahmed90 Ahmed90 said:

So, really what you're saying is, "it's not a blackout...(wait for it)......."anymore"....."!

lol how would I know :P that what people say here anyway its back so yay for me xD

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