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Syria: Reports of Internet Blackout

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Syria, Breaking News, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Politics, Protest, Technology

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011 [1].

Reports are continuing to pour in on Twitter of a possible Internet blackout in Syria today (Friday), as Syrians continue to protest against the Al Assad regime and atrocities committed against Syrians. This Friday's protests are to condemn the attacks on Syrian children. While some report a total internet shutdown, others note that the Internet is out in some places.

The Internet has been used by netizens around the Arab world, including Syria, to show the rest of the world atrocities being committed by governments against people who dared speak up and call for democratic reforms and freedom, during this wave of popular protests against dictatorship and corruption.

Protest in Damascus, Syria (31/05/11). Image by Flickr user syriana2011 (CC BY 2.0). [2]

Protest in Damascus, Syria (31/05/11). Image by Flickr user syriana2011 (CC BY 2.0).

If the Syrian regime did cut off the Internet today, it would be pulling a Mubarak, who shut down the Internet [3] ahead of the January 28, 2011, protests across Egypt, prompting more people to take to the streets to see what was happening in their country. The ousted Egyptian president, who is facing trial for his role in killing protesters, has since been fined [4] by an Egyptian court for disconnecting the Internet and mobile phone services during the revolution.

One of the first reports on the Internet cuts in Syria was around seven hours ago on Twitter by Alexander Page, a freelance journalist currently in Damascus, who writes [5]:

Internet cut off in #Damascus at 3am, not surprising given its Friday #Syria

An hour ago, Maisa Akbik tweets [6]:

Internet is down in most areas around #Syria in a day of rage dedicated for children martyrs who was killed by thugs of regime.

Maha adds [7]:

Internet services has been shut down in most cities in #Syria today

Malath Aumran's tweet on the Internet shutdown in Syria

Malath Aumran tweets [8]:

#Syria: It appears that internet is completely shutdown in Syria

In a follow up tweet, he notes: [9]

#Syria: there is now one report of internet working in an internet cafe in Abu Romani, Damascus 20 minutes ago.

Razaniyat confirms [10]:

Syrian regime shuts down the internet in #Syria today Friday of Free Children June the 3rd.

She adds [11]:

Guys, internet is completely shut down in #Syria. It's the first time ever since revolution started.

In a follow up tweet, Razaniyat continues [12]:

Syrian regime blocked areas protesting, mostly slowing the speed, but it is the first time that internet is completely down in #Syria.

And Khalad Karim quips [13]:

So they've pulled a #Mubarak?

The Syrians disappearance has left many asking questions. Omniyya Souriyya asks [14]:

the internet is scary today, no sign of anyone around … where are you Syrians? #Syria

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011 [1].