Syria suffers Internet blackout as connections switched off

Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:28am EST

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Syria's international Internet connections were shut off at 12:26 p.m. local time (1026 GMT) on Thursday and remained down throughout the afternoon, U.S. web tracking firm Renesys said.

"In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," Renesys said in its blog.

Syrian rebels battled forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad just outside Damascus on Thursday, forcing the closure of the main airport road and residents reported Internet connections in the capital were down.

Residents also said mobile and land telephone lines worked only sporadically in what appeared to be the worst disruption to communications in Syria since an uprising began 20 months ago.

Syria saw last major Internet outages in July and August this year, which lasted less than an hour at a time, and did not cut the country completely off from the web.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by Sophie Hares)