Internet service throughout Syria apparently went down on November 29.
The country, embroiled in a civil war, dropped offline at 10:26 a.m. UTC (12:26 p.m. local Damascus time), according to research firm Renesys.
“In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet,” reads a post on the company’s blog, published on Thursday morning.
When this occurs, Internet traffic coming into and going out of the country stops. The government of Egypt during the Arab Spring uprisings in early 2011 implemented an unprecedented crackdown on the Internet, ordering the nation’s Internet service providers to cease international communications.
Activists and authorities in Syria also told the AP on Thursday that cell phone networks and landlines were also unavailable in parts of the capital.
“The government has previously cut phone lines and Internet access in areas where regime forces are conducting major military operations,” reports the AP.
UPDATE 1: Calling this the worst Syrian communications disruption since the uprisings began over a year and a half ago, Reuters reports that the Assad’s forces are said to be preparing for a “military showdown around Damascus.”
“Rebels and activists said the fighting along the road to Damascus airport, southeast of the capital, was heavier in that area than at any other time in the conflict,” writes Reuters. At the time of writing, only the Dubai-based Emirates airline had suspended flights into Damascus, per Reuters.
UPDATE 2: Internet content delivery network Akamai corroborates Renesys’ earlier report of a total Internet blackout in Syria. The company on Thursday morningtweeted the following: “Akamai traffic to Syria has dropped to zero as well.”
Akamai followed that tweet with a chart visualizing a dramatic drop-off in Internet traffic that evidently shortly before 10:30 a.m. local time:
Some Twitter users are providing dial-up numbers that Syrian ‘net users may be able to use to get back online.
UPDATE 3: Reuters reports that Syria’s communication minister attributed the Internet outage to “terrorists.”
“It is not true that the state cut the Internet. The terrorists targeted the Internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off,” the official said according to a “pro-government TV station,” per Reuters. He also said that work is underway to repair the damage.