Syrian Internet appears to be largely restored

Web traffic appears to be flowing again, according to Web-monitoring services

After a two-day outage, Internet access in war-torn Syria appears to be for the most part restored on Saturday, according to reports from several sources.

"Renesys confirms a largely complete restoration of the Syrian Internet this morning, starting at 14:32:10 UTC (16:32 local time in Damascus)," according to a blog post from Internet-monitoring service Renesys.

Telecom companies providing access Saturday include Telecom Italia, Tata Communications, Turk Telecom, and PCCW, according to Renesys.

The Google traffic report graph, which provides information about traffic to the company's services around the world, showed Internet traffic flowing again in Syria on Saturday.

Cloudfare, a cloud-based security and performance service for Web sites, also reported that Syria was back online. "Traffic to the CloudFlare network from Syrian IP addresses appears to have returned to levels seen prior to the shutdown," the company said in a blog post. "Almost immediately after the first links were reestablished we saw traffic levels jump back up."

The fighting betwen government and rebel forces in the country appears to be continuing, however. A story from the BBC, which has reporters in the country, noted that while Syria's capital of Damascus appeared to be back online, rebel forces reported continued bombing in the eastern suburbs of the capital by the government.

On Thursday, Syria State TV reported that the outage was due to technical problems while pro-regime accounts on social media sites blamed rebels for the blackout.

However, various international organizations blamed the government for the Internet blackout. The shut-down may have been a sign that Syrian authorities were stepping up efforts to shield the truth of what is happening in the country from the outside world, according to Amnesty International.

"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.

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Marc Ferranti

IDG News Service
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