Syrian Internet Access Turned Back On
Rebels from the Free Syrian Army in the town of Idlib on March 31, 2012.
CREDIT: FreedomHouse2/Creative Commons
After two days of no Internet connectivity to the outside world, Syrians were once again able to get online beginning Saturday afternoon local time (Dec. 1).
The two-day Internet outage appeared to be the result of reconfiguration and removal of Border Gateway Protocol routers, where the country's Internet infrastructure met the outside world's, according to independent firms that monitor the world's Web traffic.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which is engaged in a bloody civil war against several rebel groups, blamed the blackout on cables cut by "terrorists," an assertion largely debunked Friday by the American network-reliability providers Renesys and CloudFlare.
On its blog Saturday, Renesys said messages from Syria's Border Gateway Protocol routers began to reappear just as neatly as they'd disappeared like "a switch being thrown."
"The only way we're going to know [what happened] for sure will be to wait for a resolution to the conflict," the blog post continued. "We will hear from the people who know for sure: the network engineers in Syria. We hope they're safe and we look forward to hearing their story firsthand."
The blackout made it difficult for journalists to get their coverage beyond Syria's borders. Reports since then indicate continued relentless fighting near the airport in Damascus during the disconnection.
The lack of communication lines also left many Syrians abroad worried for the safety of their family members.
After Syria's Internet access was cut off Thursday, some observers speculated that the outage might be an attempt to cover up an especially egregious human rights violation, but no such recent atrocity is known to have transpired.
The repressive governments of Egypt and Libya also cut Internet access in 2011 during popular uprisings, but such efforts proved futile when the regimes fell.