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Syria’s Internet Restored After Two Day Blackout

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 2, 2012 Last Updated: December 4, 2012
Related articles: World » Middle East
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Syrian rebels celebrate on top of the remains of a Syrian government fighter jet which was shot down at Daret Ezza, on the border between the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, on Nov. 28. (Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian rebels celebrate on top of the remains of a Syrian government fighter jet which was shot down at Daret Ezza, on the border between the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, on Nov. 28. (Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Syria’s national Internet has been mostly restored on Sunday after all IP addresses in the country went offline last week.

U.S.-based monitoring firm Renesys said on Saturday that service was put back online around 4:32 p.m. Syrian time.

“The restoration was achieved just as quickly and neatly as the outage: like a switch being thrown,” Renesys said in a blog posting.

There was speculation that the Syrian regime was behind the Internet blackout--the most recent incident of its kind in Syria. The Internet in Libya and Egypt went offline during protests and unrest during uprisings last year.

Activists, rebel fighters, and even government soldiers have uploaded photos and videos of the Syrian conflict since it started 20 months ago. Some analysts speculated that the Internet blackout might have been a precursor to a regime offensive against the rebels.

But Renesys questioned whether the Syrian regime was responsible for the latest blackout.

“Does that mean that we believe the government (or the opposition) threw the switch? Frankly, the data available just don’t support attribution at this point, despite all the speculation,” the monitoring company said.

Only after the Syrian civil war ends, will the question be resolved about whether the regime hit a “kill-switch” to take its Internet and cellular service offline, the company said. Initially Renesys suggested that the Syrian government was behind the blackout.

“At which point we will hear from the people who know for sure: the network engineers in Syria. We hope they’re safe and we look forward to hearing their story firsthand,” Renesys said.

Another firm, CloudFlare stated that Syria “reestablished partial connectivity to the Internet” while the country’s “IP addresses appears to have returned to levels seen prior to the shutdown.”

Activists and rebels told Al Bawaba that they used satellite equipment to upload photos and videos of the conflict. Photos obtained by the publication on Sunday show an office in an undisclosed location with the equipment.

Syrian state-run media also reported that “all types of communications and the Internet” was returned back to service, blaming the blackout on a “fault that caused the stoppage.” Specifically, it said that the main fiber optic lines in Damascus that connect to the rest of the country were exposed and damaged.

The two-day blackout came during some of the most intense fighting so far during the country’s civil war. The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that some 200 Syrians were killed on Saturday across the country as fighting raged between rebel and regime forces.

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