Syrian Networks and Government Websites Back Up After 24 Hour Outage

On Friday morning, the government-sponsored news agency Syria News reported Internet outages in Damascus, Aleppo, and other provinces. Shortly thereafter, the outage was covered by sources from The Washington Post to Al-Jazeera’s liveblog, and in the OpenNet Initiative blogpost from that day.

Renesys, the Internet security firm that initially documented the blackout, reported on Saturday that all Syrian networks were back up by 7:00 AM local time. The Google Transparency report confirms that traffic has returned to normal levels since the outage, which lasted roughly 24 hours, from 6:35 AM local time (3:35 AM GMT) on June 3rd to 7:00 AM (4:00 AM GMT) on June 4th.

As discussed in the previous blog post, observers suspected this Internet blackout continued the “just-in-time” Internet blocking pattern used by governments throughout the Middle East. The outage coincided with a demonstration against the Syrian government on “Children’s Friday.” There has been no information from the Syrian government about the cause of the outage.

The outage has gone virtually unmentioned on websites run by the Syrian government, aside from the aforementioned Syria News. Instead, on June 4th, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) published a report on a new media law that the article suggests may offer greater to protection and freedom, regarding content, Syrian journalists.

During the 24 hours, Herdict was able to collect numerous site reports from across the world. Herdict’s data, gathered from 8 countries, confirms the Renesys report that some Syrian government websites inaccessible internationally during the outage, including Syrian Customs.

According to Herdict reports, the website for the city government of Damascus (damascus.gov.sy) remains inaccessible. Thank you so much to all of our Herdict testers who helped us gather data, and please keep reporting!

About the Author: Kendra Albert

Kendra Albert is an instructional fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic.

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