Syria cuts off internet across the country
Internet and telephone services have resumed after a two-day blackout due to escalating violence in the Syrian capital.
The Assad regime cut off internet and telephone communications in an attempt to reduce communication between rebel forces and the outside world. The black-out made it hard for journalists to get a clear picture of what was going on inside the capital, as the only information being received was the sight of smoke-clouds and the noise of fighter jets. This was indicating that heavy fighting continues in the South-Eastern part of the city, near the airport which was shut down on Thursday and Friday.
The black-out comes after United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon warned the UN General Assembly in New York that the worsening humanitarian situation could result in over 700,000 Syrian refugees by January. He also predicted that up to four million people would be in need of assistance over the winter period as a result of the deepening violence.
Despite Syrians being unable to use the internet, people outside the country could still access the government’s website as it is hosted in foreign countries, including the United States. Many technology companies have since been instructed to terminate hosting arrangements to comply with sanctions against Assad’s regime.
Although the internet seems to be up and running again in Damascus, it is not yet clear how much access there is in other parts of the country.