Syria Internet Goes Dark as Civil War Rages

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Syria entered its second day of global Internet disconnect Wednesday, raising speculation that President Bashar al-Assad's regime is behind the blackout.

Google, Inc., reported the "disconnect," which effectively cut Syria off from communication with the rest of the world, occurred abruptly at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday.

"We've seen this twice before," Reuters quoted Christine Chen, a senior manager for Google. "This happened in Syria last November and in Egypt during the Arab Spring."

Jim Cowie, a senior technology expert at Renesys, a U.S. company tracking global Internet service, concurred.

"We don't see any effects in neighboring countries and we don't see anything to suggest that the outage was caused by damage to one or another of the several cables that connects Syria with the outside world," Cowie said.

The Syrian government blamed terrorists for the outage, but most say the Assad government shut off Internet access to stop the flow of information on YouTube and social networking sites that can post graphic images of the war-torn country.

Reuters reported that activists "found alternate ways to log on and upload videos, such as satellite connections."

Last November, the government shut down Internet and cellular phone service for two days.

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