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November 29, 2012 Comments (6) Views: 33215 Internet, Middle East

Syrian Internet Is Off The Air

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Click for latest update: 01:00 GMT Friday.
Starting at 10:26 UTC on Thursday, 29 November (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria’s international Internet connectivity shut down. In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.
We are investigating the dynamics of the outage and will post updates as they become available.

Update (15:45 UTC)

Looking closely at the continuing Internet blackout in Syria, we can see that traceroutes into Syria are failing, exactly as one would expect for a major outage. The primary autonomous system for Syria is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment; all of their customer networks are currently unreachable.

Now, there are a few Syrian networks that are still connected to the Internet, still reachable by traceroutes, and indeed still hosting Syrian content. These are five networks that use Syrian-registered IP space, but the originator of the routes is actually Tata Communications. These are potentially offshore, rather than domestic, and perhaps not subject to whatever killswitch was thrown today within Syria.

These five offshore survivors include the webservers that were implicated in the delivery of malware targeting Syrian activists in May of this year.

It has been a crazy year for Syrian Internet transit arrangements, most recently with the loss of Deutsche Telekom as a transit provider earlier this month. November.2012.SY.transit.png
Update (20:30 UTC):

Still no signs of life from the affected prefixes. Looking back over the last week, you can see that the routing of the Syrian Internet has actually been pretty stable until today’s wholesale shutdown.

There have been some brief up-and-down flickers affecting the reachability of a particular 12 networks, and there was one brief whole-country outage of less than ten minutes on 25 November. By the time that one was confirmed, the outage was over. It would be reaching to call that a “precursor event” or “practice run,” but that’s a possibility.

Also, some have asked about the submarine connectivity into Syria. Here’s a map showing the three principal routes. There’s also terrestrial connectivity into Turkey to the north, but those paths have not been reliable in recent months.


Update (01:00 GMT, 30 Nov):The last 5 networks belonging to Syria, a set of smaller netblocks previously advertised by Tata Communications, have been torn down and are no longer routed. These blocks survived today’s Internet blackout in Syria, but 12 hours after the onset, they, too are off the air. Traceroutes to these blocks now die on Tata’s network in New Jersey, and websites hosted in these blocks are no longer responding.

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6 Responses to Syrian Internet Is Off The Air

  1. Status says:

    Because it worked so well for Egypt…

    It now looks as if Syria has pulled the plug on their main connections to the global Internet, presumably in order to disrupt communication between internal dissidents and the outside world, much as Egypt attempted to do during it’s own revolt last year.

  2. MirroredBlog says:

    Syrian internet goes down, gets cut off from the world

    The civil war-torn nation of Syria has seemingly disappeared from the internet. In a sign that the regime

  3. AllThingsD says:

    Syria Has Disappeared From the Internet

    Not a good sign….

  4. rafal Rohozinski says:

    Ottawa. 01.012012. At approximately 14:30 GMT, the Secdev Syria Operations Group (SOG) monitoring the Syrian Internet witnessed a substantial amount of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) route update announcements related to Syrian Internet Protocol (IP) blocks. The announcements were the precursor to most of the country going back online.
    BGP routes allow for communication traffic to move from one destination to another. Previously, on Nov. 29th, SecDev had reported that thousands of BGP routes had been withdrawn, effectively disabling Syria’s government-controlled Internet.
    Reports on social media confirm that users are once again able to use TOR and VPN services. Meanwhile, Psiphon confirmed that by 15:00 GMT, 783 users had connected to the Internet, predominantly using its sophisticated Obfuscated Secure Shell cryptographic protocol (OSSH+)
    Syria’s Minister of Telecommunications, Imad Sabouni, told Al-Ikhbaria news that the Internet returned to the country after technical crews completed repairs. Previously, in contradictory statements, the Syrian Minister of Information had said on Nov. 29 GMT that “terrorists targeted an internet cable which resulted in an outage” (Elnashra:; however, the Minister of Telecommunications had blamed the outage on a technical error that crews were working hard to repair (Source coming).
    Social media reports claim that the Internet returned to Aleppo (partly), Damascus, Da’ara (partly), Hama, Homs, Idlib, Latakia, Raqqa, Rural Damascus, Tadmur, and Tartous. In the Deir Ezzour governorate, the Internet remains down and mobile phones are still unavailable in most areas. Other reports claim that parts of Aleppo are still facing a blackout with no cellular or ADSL internet services. There has been no news from Swieda.

  5. Wow, so this was the NSA bricking Syria’s main router.  Did not guess that.:

  6. Dwight says:

    By contrast, Syria has cut everyone—elite and commoners—off from conventional Internet access within the span of minutes. The only exception are those with expensive satellite modems.

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