TMCnet Feature
May 08, 2013

Syrian Internet Appears to Be Working Again, for Now

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Following close to a day without Internet access, it appeared as of early Wednesday afternoon (ET) Syria's Internet service was once again working.

The service blackout was estimated to have lasted some 19.5 hours. Google's (News - Alert) Transparency Report shows that the provider’s services stopped before 19:00 GMT on Tuesday in Syria. Service was back on 14:15 GMT on Wednesday.

Renesys also reported on Wednesday that "Syrian Internet has returned."

“Syria Internet connectivity appears to be returning – @Akamai (News - Alert) platform traffic to the country is increasing,” according to a Tweet from the monitoring firm.

Tuesday night’s outage is the third time Syria lost Internet service since the civil war started, news reports said.

There is still conflict and controversy over what caused the outage, news reports add.

Syria's state-run news agency said the outage was caused by a "fault in optical fiber cables.” Officials claim they worked quickly to get everyone back on the Internet.

The official government version was released by the Syrian Arab News Agency, which said in a Wednesday report that “Minister of Communications and Technology…Imad al-Sabouni…said that the internet services and communications returned to normal on Wednesday afternoon after a malfunction in an optic cable.”

“In a statement to SANA, al-Sabouni said that the maintenance and repair workshops put in great efforts to fix the malfunction, and managed to restore internet services and communications across Syria,” the official statement added. “Internet services and communication between provinces went down on Tuesday evening due to a malfunction in an optic cable.”

David Belson, a product line director at Akamai, said that was "unlikely," CNET reported.

"Our monitoring shows that Syria's international internet connectivity is through at least four providers, and published submarine cable maps show connectivity through three active cables," Belson added in a quote. "As such, the failure of a single optical cable is unlikely to cause a complete Internet outage for the country."

Some observers say the outage was purposely caused by the authoritarian government, which didn’t want its opponents in the bloody civil war to use the Internet for communications, TMCnet reported. Others blame the rebel forces or another country, which could be an enemy of Syria. Or, the disconnection may have come if technology was damaged during the fighting, TMCnet added.

Meanwhile, Syrians may find themselves soon without Internet service again – whatever the cause.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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