Syria Down – no internet

 The Syrian government and Rebels have been blamed for the shutdown of internet and telecommunication services in its territory on Thursday. The tussle in between the Syrian rebels and the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad just outside Damascus resulted in cutting the access to its international airport, and the telecommunication lines.

Reuters quotes, “The Internet and some telephone lines went down across Syria. Rebels and the government traded blame for the blackout, the worst communications outage in 20 months of conflict.”

Internet Society quotes, “As with previous actions to block Internet traffic in Egypt and Libya, the effect of cutting off Internet traffic – ceasing the flow of information in and out of the country – is a serious action.  It harms not only the citizens of Syria, but also Syria’s economy and society at large.  The Internet Society stands with other organizations around the world in calling for Internet access to be restored with all due speed and cooperation so that vital services can continue to function and citizens won’t be further impacted.”

Likewise, Access now  condemns the act by saying, “The total interruption of the internet and telecommunications services is completely unjustifiable, a breach of international law, and always causes serious harm to the public. Syrian authorities should restore service immediately. Any private companies facilitating the shutdown must take immediate action to remedy the human rights impact of cessation of communications services, first and foremost, by restoring service. Companies (and governments) have a responsibility to respect human rights and redress grievances under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. While information about the actual execution of the shutdown is still coming out, all telecommunications providers in the country connect through the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, controlled by the Syrian Ministry of Communication and Technology. Indeed, they are reputed to share a building, so shutting off communications may have been as simple as walking down a hallway and telling the routers to stop announcing their IP addresses, a metaphorical if not actual pulling of the plug.”