Internet connection between Syria and the rest of the world has been cut off according to a US web tracking firm, and phone lines into Damascus have been cut as well.
According to Renesys, a US web tracking firm, internet communication to Syria has been severed. In a tweet released today, the firm stated "Syrian Internet offline again 07:01 UTC / 10:00 am local.” In addition, international phone lines have been cut in Damascus. This marks the sixth communications blackout in two years since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began, and the web tracking firm is suggesting that the government is probably behind it.
Authorities are blaming a malfunctioning optical cable as a reason for the blackout. Whether this is true or not can not be determined, but Syrian government websites are down as well. As a result of the outage, Google and Twitter relaunched a service created in November of last year aimed at helping isolated Syrians communicate with the world. The service, Speak2Tweet, does not require internet access to function. However, it does require a phone connection, so people in Damascus are out of luck for now.
Meanwhile, rebels are currently fighting to reopen a supply route in the outskirts of Damascus. No word as to whether this has to do with the blackout.