Flights are being cancelled to the Syrian capital city of Damascus today as a major battle rages just outside of the airport and communication with the outside world has been all but cut off by the loss of Internet and phone service.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) fired mortars at the airport runways, according to early reports, and say they have been planning the attack for a “long time” aimed at capturing it outright. Syrian troops have deployed to contest the raid.
The loss of the Internet nationwide is something of a mystery, and while the US is blaming the Syrian government for doing so, supposedly to hurt rebel communication, the government has never made such a broad move beforehand, and Syrian state media is reporting that it is the result of a terrorist attack, promising that engineers would repair the outage as soon as possible.
Syria had previously made isolated regional cuts lasting no more than an hour during specific operations but never anything close to shutting the whole nation’s Internet down. Since US officials have been pumping communication equipment into the nation’s rebel fighters’ hands it isn’t clear that the move would impact the rebels at any rate.
Technology experts suggest that the outage could indeed be physical, and all attempts to connect to Syrian IPs are simply timing out. Giving Syria’s limited Internet infrastructure, this could be accomplished by physically cutting a few cables, which may lend credence to the claims of sabotage.