The length of Thursday’s internet blackout, confirmed by US-based companies that monitor online connectivity, is unprecedented in Syria’s 20-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Renesys, a US-based network security firm that studies internet disruptions, said Syria effectively disappeared from the internet at 12:26pm local time.
It said the main autonomous system responsible for the internet in the country is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, and that “all of their customer networks are currently unreachable”.
Syrian state TV denied the blackout was nationwide. It said the outage was caused by a technical failure, only affected some provinces, and that technicians were trying to fix the problem.
The government has previously cut phone lines and internet access in areas where regime forces are about to conduct major military operations.
Syria’s minister of information said “terrorists”, not the state, were responsible for the outage, a pro-government TV station reported.
“It is not true that the state cut the internet. The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off,” he was quoted by al-Ikhbariya as saying.