BEIRUT May 8 Syria's Internet and phone lines
started working again on Wednesday evening, residents said,
after a day-long blackout left much of the population cut off
from the outside world.
Communication networks have been crucial for opposition
activists trying to get out videos and information about a
two-year conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.
Activists called the outage an intentional move to aid
countrywide military operations.
Google's Transparency Report pages showed traffic
to Google services pages from the country, embroiled in civil
war, suddenly stopping shortly before 1900 GMT on Tuesday. It
returned at 1415 GMT on Wednesday.
Syrian state news agency SANA quoted the Director General of
the General Establishment for Communications Bakr Bakr as saying
that Internet services and communication between provinces had
gone down due to a malfunction in an optic cable.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based
group that monitors both President Bashar al-Assad's security
forces and the rebels, cited military sources who said the
blackout was part of a security force operation.
The insurgency against four decades of Assad family rule
began as peaceful protests but descended into civil war after
months of fierce crackdown by security forces.
Assad's forces have often shut down telephone and Internet
connections in some cities or neighbourhoods during major combat
operations. Opposition activists accuse them of doing the same
during alleged massacres that killed hundreds of people.
Most recently, communications appeared to have been cut in
the coastal towns of Banias and Baida during what activists said
were widespread executions that killed hundreds of people,
including dozens of children.