Google tweeted Tuesday that all its services are inaccessible in Syria, where a bloody civil war is ongoing and Israeli airstrikes were conducted over the weekend.
Google reports that Internet traffic from the beleaguered Middle Eastern nation suddenly stopped at about 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time.
Other traffic-monitoring services confirmed the outage. Renesys also tweeted:
Renesys confirms loss of Syrian Internet connectivity 18:43 UTC. BGP routes down, inbound traces failing.
This isn't the first time the country has fallen off the digital map in recent months. A similar outage last November lasted for two days.
Almost immediately, potential work-arounds were being distributed, such as this one from a Twitter user who generously offered dial-up login credentials:
Google is also pointing people to use its Speak2Tweet service:
...those who still have a phone connection can still use Speak2Tweet by leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196). Press 1 to leave a voicemail and # when you're done, and the service will tweet the message. No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.So far though, there's been almost no use of the service, which might be explained by reports that came in about an hour after the news of the Internet outage that landlines and mobile phones in Syria are also down.
The reaction to the outage inside Syria is likely one of further heightened anxiety. There are reports that the power is out in Damascus, and AFP reports that in the past, such outages have come in advance of a new military offensive. The government laid blame for the November outage at the hands of "terrorists."
The significance of the communications blackout stirred something of a mini-debate between two journalists who cover the region on Twitter. Al Aan TV's Jenan Moussa wondered if the outage was something that Syria's activists are accustomed to, while Al Jazeera English journalist Basma Atassi pointed out it was only the third outage since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, adding: "This *is* dangerous."
Others on Twitter offered up some one-liners about needing to reset and do a power cycle on the country's routers. While the jesting might have been in poor taste, it ironically might not be far from the truth.
Most of the bandwidth coming into Syria runs through the government-controlled Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, with the few major ISPs operating out of the same building. As All Things D reports:
..the routers in the telecommunications building have been reset and have stopped announcing themselves to the rest of the world, making them essentially nonexistent until they come back on.