Arab Spring

Syrians Scramble To Bypass Internet Blackout

It's all about getting the word out


Information coming out of Syria has slowed to a trickle in the wake of Thursday's country-wide communications shutdown, which included nearly all Internet traffic and intermittent cellular network and landline outages. Earlier today, Renesys reported that the last five networks that had survived the initial outage were off the air. In the meantime, experts have cast a skeptical eye on the Syrian Ministry of Information's claims that the outage is the result of sabotage by "terrorists," a term that the Assad regime has frequently used to describe the opposition.

Even under these adverse conditions, some Syrians have found ways to get online, stay in touch with family and loved ones abroad, and keep the world appraised of events on the ground at a time when fighting has escalated and reliable intelligence is scarce. Dlshad Othman, a Syrian activist and IT specialist, estimates that the number of people online in Syria at the moment is probably "less than 1,000," yet Global Voices reports that videos of protests are still finding their way online.