Syria loses Internet again: Censorship or backhoe?

Assad fingered.

Syrian Internet outage

The strife-torn country of Syria has dropped off the net for the second time in six months. Almost all its BGP routes disappeared in quick succession, leading many to conclude that the Bashar al-Assad government has deliberately cut off its citizens from the world. However, others wonder if the infrastructure was physically damaged by the civil war.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers weigh up the evidence.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

James Niccolai reports "severe disruption":

While traffic to and from the country appeared severely disrupted, [it's] unclear if Internet services within Syria [are] still available.

...

Syria has been embroiled in civil war for three years. ... The conflict has escalated in recent days, with accusations of chemical weapons use, and on Sunday Israel launched air attacks on the Syrian capital, Damascus.  MORE

And Aunty adds:

[It] appears to be the second shutdown in six months. ... Syria last experienced a shutdown for three days in November. ... The government blamed that incident on "terrorists", but internet experts said it was more likely that the government had deliberately shut down the web.

...

Syrian residents confirmed the blackout, but said mobile phones and landlines were working normally.  MORE

Dan Hubbard looks in his OpenDNS cupboard:

On closer inspection, it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet. ... Currently both TLD servers for Syria, ns1.tld.sy and ns2.tld.sy are unreachable.

...

Shutting down Internet access to and from Syria is achieved by withdrawing the BGP routes. ... Currently there are just three routes in the BGP routing tables for Syria, while normally it’s close to 80. ... Effectively, the shutdown disconnects Syria from Internet communication with the rest of the world.  MORE

So Frederic Jacobs helpfully shows us the routes going away:

I uploaded to YouTube a visualization of Syria disappearing from the Internet.  MORE

Which Diana Hill watches, concluding thuswise:

looks like methodically removed each path from servers & took them offline 1x1 rapid succession.  MORE

But Andrew Lewis ‏isn't rushing to that conclusion:

While #Syria might have intentionally cut off internet, all international connections are located in #Damscus at two DC's, making stuff vuln.  MORE

Meanwhile, Casey Chan thinks globally but acts locally:

I live in a technological ****hole that is known as the United States. Plutocrats here have created monopolies that wipe my Internet out at least once a week.

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to [have] a constant connection [that] gave me the speeds...they guaranteed and I paid for.  MORE

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