Quoted in the Democracy Digest:
The recent Internet blackout and the severing of landline and cell phones services are an indication of the regime’s vulnerability, rather than signs of an imminent crackdown, says Syrian opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid.
“The possibility of accidental damage can be discounted,” he said. “This is something done intentionally by the regime, and reflects growing desperation on account of the recent advances made by rebels, especially in Damascus.”
Quoted in The Washington Post:
The rising popularity of smartphones and the Syrian government’s sharp limits on the movements of independent journalists have made social media an especially vital source of information about the conflict. The abrupt loss of the technology has caused widespread fear, said Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Not everyone will have access” to news about the conflict, said Abdulhamid, who has close ties to Syria’s opposition. “There will be panic. There will be fear.”
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.” Continue reading “Blackout in Damascus: Syria’s Winter of Discontent”