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Syrian Government Disconnects Internet Amid Protests

The graph to the left, as The Next Web has pointed out was generated by Google’s Transparency Report tool, shows that Syrian Internet traffic has flatlined over the past few hours, and Al Jazeera’s liveblog has confirmed that the Syrian government has completely cut off the Internet due to protests — a common move recently in the Middle East.

The Internet has been disconnected — 3G, dial-up and DSL — due to anti-government uprisings that have been happening as early as January of this year.

Reports on Al Jazeera’s liveblog claim that residents are describing parts of Syria as “under a full military siege,with tanks bombarding residential areas, snipers firing at anyone on the streets and supplies of food and electricity cut.” The area described, Telbiseh, was the scene of an attack by “security forces on a school bus last Sunday,” reports Al Jazeera. Eyewitnesses claim the residential homes in the suburbs of the city came under heavy gun and tank fire at one point.

Various sources, included the Wikipedia article, have claimed that security forces have killed hundreds of protestors, though the government also claims various sects of the protestors are responsible for killing security forces as well, in a chicken-or-the-egg kind chronology.

Shutting off the Internet seems to be the go-to move for governments in the Middle East lately, as the Egyptian and Libyan governments both attempted to block the Internet in order to deal with protestors, and with Iran planning on blocking the Internet and creating its own, it would seem governments are moving toward an age where they understand the Internet is a powerful weapon, rather than just a place to post pictures of cats and to discuss what you ate for lunch in 140 characters or less.

The Syria protests have a lot of background, dating as far back as 1962, so if you’d like to brush up on your Syrian history, the Wikipedia article seems to be a great source of information.

(via The Next Web, Al Jazeera)

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