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 in the
midst of civil war 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 Internet outage an intentional move to
aid countrywide military operations.
Data from Google Inc, Akamai Technologies Inc
and Renesys showed that Internet traffic started
flowing to and from Syria shortly 1400 GMT on Wednesday, after
stopping shortly before 1900 GMT on Tuesday.
"It is the status quo ... Everything looks the same as
before the Internet came down," said Jim Cowie, chief technology
officer at Renesys, a U.S. firm that tracks global web traffic.
Syrian state news agency SANA quoted the director general of
the General Establishment for Communications, Bakr Bakr, as
saying 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 crackdowns 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.
The latest outage demonstrated the fragile nature of global
Internet connections. In Syria, the system of Internet providers
is centralised, meaning a single point of failure could bring
down all connections, according to Cowie.