Syria loses Internet access as fighting continues in Damascus

Quoted in The Daily Dot:

Over the last few days, Assad’s regime has suffered major losses in its clashes with rebels, who have managed to encircle the capital, Damascus, even attacking the International Airport there and forcing a shutdown of its services, said Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled Syrian pro-democracy activist and fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in an email to the Daily Dot. 

“As such, the move could reflect a sign of growing panic in the regime and could be a desperate move to disrupt communications between rebel groups, even though rebels rely for the most part on satellite communications and short wave radio rather than the internet,” Abdulhamid added.

As was the case during the Egyptian uprising, shutting down the Internet will only embolden people to rebel and disseminate information anyway they can, Abdulhamid said.

“This shutdown could be a sign that the regime is preparing for a major offensive in Damascus and elsewhere, and wants to delay coverage of the event by international press as much as possible,” he added.

“But that does not make much sense really, considering the widespread use of satellite communications. But if the regime is in a panic mode, then not all its steps would be rational at this stage.”