Report: Syria’s internet down for second time in two weeks

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Syrian residents and a U.S. Internet monitoring company say Syria is experiencing a nationwide Internet outage. It is the second such blackout in two weeks.

The U.S.-based Renesys Corp. says Syria went offline Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. local time, according to the Associated Press.

Syrian government websites, including the SANA state news agency, appeared to be down as well. But SANA reported on its twitter account a technical problem. It said maintenance units were working to restore the Internet as soon as possible. It did not elaborate.

Syrian authorities have cut phone and Internet service in select areas in the past to disrupt rebel communications when regime forces were conducting major operations.

Such widespread outages, however, have been rare. The reason for the May 7 outage is still unclear.

According to Syrians inside the country contacted by Al Arabiya, they were notified by the Syrian telecommunication company that there had been a “malfunction in the optical cable” that affected services across the country.

As a result of the outage, Google and Twitter had re-launched an old service that aimed to help isolated Syrians communicate with the world in Nov. 2012.

“We’ve reactivated Speak2Tweet,” Christine Chen, Google Communication senior manager, told Al Arabiya.

Chen said all Google services are currently inaccessible in Syria. “We can’t speculate on the reasons,” she added.

This outage would not affect the Speak2Tweet service as it does not require internet access, Chen said.

However, it does require a phone connection. The user dials the international numbers provided by Google from any landline or mobile phone, then leaves a voice message which is posted on the Speak2Tweet page that people are able to listen to.