Syria's Internet Shuts Down

Networks dark as protests against Assad intensify; 60 dead
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2011 3:31 PM CDT
In this mobile phone image, Syrian protesters hold an Arabic banner read: 'May God help break the silence of the Arab League,' as they march in Kfar-Nebel, Syria, June 3, 2011.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network)

(Newser) – As protesters took to the streets with renewed ferocity in Syria today, roughly two-thirds of the country’s Internet networks abruptly disappeared from global routing tables, Bloomberg reports. As of this morning, 40 of the country’s 59 networks were unreachable. One state-run site confirmed that the government had “cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, Dial-up) all across the country, including government institutions,” according to ZDNet. Later, the site said Internet was available in some places, but “broken” in Damascus, Aleppo and “the provinces.”

Syria’s Internet is controlled by the government-run Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, which provides core services to most ISPs, including DSL and dial-up. The shutdown seems to be in response to a call for mass “children” protests over the execution of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib. Thousands took to the streets anyway, and gunfire has been reported in multiple places; in Hama, security forces have reportedly killed at least 60.

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