Internet service has been shut down in Syria amid escalating protests against President Bashar Assad and only Syrian government agencies had Internet access, and it suggested events may be coming to a head. As with the Egyptian Internet shutdown, some Syrians are finding ways to get information out of the country and approximately two thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the global Internet…………
As protests continue to escalate against the regime of President Bashar Assad, the Internet has been the means by which information has been received from, and delivered to, the outside world. But now, according to the Internet monitoring firm Renesys, about two-thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the Internet early Friday morning. Renesys said 40 of 59 networks were withdrawn from the global routing table within about half an hour. It noted that there is essentially only one Internet service provider in Syria, the state-owned SyriaTel, which feeds three smaller downstream ISPs. The only network components that are still reachable are those belonging to the government. About four million Syrians, out of a population of 22 million, normally have Internet access. “If Egypt and Libya’s Internet outages are any guide,” Renesys said on its blog, “one might conclude that events on the street in Syria are reaching a tipping point.” Reports indicate the protests, and the violent response by the government, show no signs of abating. More than 60 people were reported killed in the town of Hama, and as many as 20 were injured in Deir Al-Zour following demonstrations after Friday prayers. The towns of Rastan and Talibiseh in central Syria are reportedly surrounded by the army and tanks. Observers have estimated that more than 1,100 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in March and more than 10,000 have been detained.
On Friday afternoon, the Al-Jazeera news service reported that a government-sponsored web site had confirmed the shutdown, noting that the government cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, dial-up) all across Syria, including in government institutions. But, as happened following the Internet shutdown during the Egyptian revolution, some protesters are finding alternative ways of getting video and other information out of the country, by such means as satellite transmission. That information flow informed the world about the torture and death of a 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khatib, who has become a symbol of the Syrian uprising. During the Egyptian revolution in January, ISPs were ordered by the government to shut down all international connections to the Internet. The four big ISPs in that country Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr . The shutdown left essentially all Internet addresses in Egypt unreachable. During the shutdown in Egypt, however, the Noor Group’s routes were left open. The speculation was that Noor, which provided connectivity to the Egyptian Stock Exchange was left running so markets could still operate. Net access was restored after being shut down for five days.