Syria has effectively been cut off from the internet, two US technology companies that monitor web traffic reported on Thursday.
Akamai, one of the firms that monitors global traffic, said traffic stopped from 10.26 GMT, and that this supports the observation from another IT firm, Renesys, “that Syria is effectively off the internet.”
The reports could mean that the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad has cut off the networks as he cracks down on rebels in the war-wracked country.
Earlier, activists in Syria said internet and mobile telephone communications were cut in the capital Damascus, and land lines were barely functioning.
An activist in the embattled Eastern Ghouta region east of the capital told reporters that only satellite internet connections were operating in the area.
The Local Coordination Committees, a leading network of activists on the ground, said “communications and internet service have been cut in most parts of Damascus and its suburbs, raising fears that the criminal Syrian regime is up to something.”
It said landline and mobile services were cut throughout the central provinces of Homs and Hama, in Daraa and Suweida provinces in the south, in Tartus province on the coast, and in some cities in Deir Ezzor and Raqa provinces in the east.
Official news agency Sana also saw its feed interrupted at midday.
According to activists, sudden communication cuts regularly occur before major military offensives.
Fighting between rebels and troops is currently focused around Damascus, with the army trying to dislodge rebels who have set up rear bases on the outskirts of the capital.