Blackout in Damascus: Syria’s Winter of Discontent

Quoted in The Daily Beast:

It’s still unclear how the Internet blackout happened—and for what purpose. While Syria’s information minister blamed “terrorists” for the disruption, others suspect that the government is behind the blackout. “I think we can discount the theory that rebels did the damage, because landlines and cellphones were down as well,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident based in the United States and a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The regime is behind this, and seems desperate because of the recent advances made by rebels in Damascus and elsewhere—but especially in Damascus.”

“The rebels were quietly laying siege to Damascus. Not in the traditional manner, but by capturing key bases around the city and making travel along the major highways a risky affair,” he added. “I think the regime clearly panicked and it might be trying to undertake some major offensive operations in the area to get the situation under control, before the rebels are more organized and better supplied.”