Syrians turn to satellites as the country's Internet connection remains down

The Internet blackout is more complete in Syria than it was during events in Egypt almost two years ago

Syrians are turning to satellites to communicate as the country's Internet connections are shut down, but instances of jamming are making even that challenging. Google is also letting people who can find a working phone publish voice messages on Twitter.

Internet connections between Syria and the rest of the world were blocked on Thursday, and remained down on Friday with websites hosted in the country still not accessible from outside.

The blackout is more complete than when other countries have been cut from the Internet, the content network delivery company CloudFlare said in a blog post.

Some telephone landlines are working, but most information is coming out of Syria using satellite connections for telephony and Internet access, according to Rami Abdurrahman, founder and director at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

However, the high cost of such connections limits the amount of information, including videos, that can be sent to and from Syria, he said.

Satellites were also one of the ways Egyptians managed to communicate when Internet connections were severed there.

But even communicating via satellites isn't without complications in Syria today.

"There have been quite a few instances of jamming in Syria; a game of cat and mouse with satellite operators," said a satellite industry worker with knowledge of the situation.

People that can find a working phone can use Google's Speak2Tweet to transmit a message via Twitter. The service posts links to audio recordings of the messages left, but does not convert them to text.

Google worked with Twitter to create the service a little less than two years ago, when Internet access was cut off in Egypt.

At the time of writing, 14 messages had been posted in the last 12 hours. The service had not previously been used since July. Of those 14 messages, six were of English speakers saying "This is a test," four were of dance music or other ambient noise, and four were of voices speaking languages other than English.

Human rights campaigning organization Amnesty International is extremely worried about the current situation in Syria, it said in a statement on Friday.

The shut-down of communications may herald the intention of Syrian authorities to shield the truth of what is happening in the country from the outside world, according to the organization.

"It is time to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity, not to commit them behind a wall of silence. Anyone committing such acts should know that they will be held accountable in the future," Amnesty said.

Send news tips and comments to

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags telephonytelecommunicationCarriersGoogleAmnesty InternationaltwitterinternetInternet service providers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?