Internet connections between Syria and the outside world were cut off on Tuesday, according to data from Google Inc and other global Internet companies.
Google’s Transparency Report pages showed traffic to Google services pages from the country, embroiled in a civil war that has lasted more than two years, suddenly stopping shortly before 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). Google traffic reports continued to show no activity there about four hours after the drop-off.
“We’ve seen this twice before,” said Christine Chen, Google’s senior manager for free expression. “This happened in Syria last November and in Egypt during the Arab Spring.”
It is virtually impossible to definitely determine the cause of such disruptions unless a party claims responsibility, experts said. In the past, Syria’s government and the rebels fighting to topple it have traded blame.
Google’s data showed traffic disruptions limited to Syria and spanning the entire country. Shutting an entire nation from the Internet is possible because IP addresses, individual connections established by each device, are geographically specific and the government has control over the country’s Internet service providers.