Going Dark: Syria’s largest city just dropped off the InternetPosted: August 30, 2013
The Switch received a tip informing us that Internet was out in parts of Northern Syria. Following up on that lead, we contacted Doug Madory of Internet intelligence company Renesys. In a recent blog post, Madory explained that outages in the Aleppo area are strongly correlated to disruptions in Turk Telekom’s service to the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment. When Turk Telekom service drops out of Syria, Aleppo appears to experience a “last mile” outage, but other areas continue to have Internet access through PCCW and Deutsche Telekom.
According to Madory, Turk Telekom service to Syria dropped out at 17:48:42 UTC on Aug 29. This suggests that Internet service in the Aleppo area has been out since last night.
Aleppo reportedly suffered a similar Internet and mobile outage Aug. 13. At the time, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group critical of the Assad regime, claimed both mobile telecommunications services and Internet were cut off.
Given the intense fighting in the Aleppo area, it’s possible that the outages are related to local infrastructure damage. However, Internet outages in Syria have acurious history of happening at times convenient for the Assad regime. In November 2012, some 92 percent of national Syrian Internet traffic went offline as the regime was rumored to be mixing chemical weapon components, while 78 percent of traffic went offline in January when Assad gave a rare public address. Some past localized Internet outages have also coincided with government offensives in those areas.
Aleppo has been heavily contested by the Assad regime and Syrian rebels throughout the bloody two-year civil war. Earlier this week, rebel forces took control of the strategic town of Khanasir between Aleppo and Hama, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, cutting off the only supply route between Aleppo and Assad’s forces.
Last night, the BBC released a graphic video report showing the aftermath of an incendiary bomb dropped by a fighter jet on the playground of a school in the Aleppo area, killing more than 10 and leaving many more with devastating burns.
- What’s Next For Syria’s Internet (renesys.com)
- Opposition says Assad’s forces drop phosphorus bombs near Aleppo (dailystar.com.lb)
- Doc’s Talk: The Brotherhood Starts Anew in Syria (docstalk.blogspot.com)
- Syria rebels seize Assad-controlled town in Aleppo (jpost.com)
- David Cameron says government will ‘act accordingly’ as MPs vote against motion on military intervention in Syria (metro.co.uk)
- Syria: New Horrors!! (thetruthseeker.co.uk)
- Hacker points Syrian telecom website to AT&T, T-Mobile (pcworld.com)
- Canada’s Syrian expats feel strain of humanitarian crisis (globalnews.ca)
- Western intervention in Syria ‘will have catastrophic effects’, charities warn (metro.co.uk)
- Opposition seizes Assad’s safe road to Aleppo (worldbulletin.net)