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Syria cut off from internet

Phone services partially down

Syrian authorities have severed internet access to practically the entire country on Thursday afternoon. The move comes amidst renewed fighting between Assad’s regime and rebel forces, in which rebels are starting to take the initiative.

The BBC reports that cell phone service is partially down and Syria’s Damascus International Airport has also been closed after rebels captured a road leading to the capital. At the height of the Arab Spring, ousted governments in Libya and Egypt also imposed internet blackouts, but they did not help them survive the popular uprisings.

In a sense, it is surprising that Syria managed to maintain the network throughout the 20-month civil war in the country. Limited outages were reported in the past, but not a complete blackout. It would appear that internet infrastructure is a bit more resilient than most people think.

Syrian rebels have been using social networks and a host of other services to get their message across, but now they will have to find alternative ways. With practically no foreign reporters in government-controlled areas, getting information out of the war stricken country will get a lot more difficult.

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