The Syrian government has shut down public communications networks connected to the Internet across the country as they try to gain control in the ongoing civil war.
Known as the Syrian Uprisings, the armed conflict has been ongoing since 15 March 2010 and is seen by some as part of a wider social media-led liberation movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters have demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad as well as the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule.
In response, al-Assad has shut down the Internet across the country and cut mobile phone services as part of an effort to hold back so-called rebels, enabling government troops to effortlessly wage fierce battles near the capital’s airport.
International airlines were forced to suspend flights following the Internet blackout, an unprecedented event in Syria’s 20-month-old civil war against the president.
A prominent human rights activist and interdisciplinary researcher, Ashu M. G. Solo, said that no modern country can function properly without the Internet. “By shutting down the Internet, Assad has taken Syria from the information age to a dark age,” Solo said. “Assad can try to delay the end of his brutally repressive dictatorship with these desperate measures, but he won’t be able to stay in power for long. Liberty and democracy are rapidly spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”