(WXIA) -- Internet communication from Syria has been totally cut off, according to reports from many tech and mainstream news services.
Renesys, an Internet monitoring service, said Thursday morning that Syria's international Internet connectivity has been shut down. Graphs from Renesys and Web content delivery service Akamai shows that traffic volume from Syria abruptly went to zero at about 10:30 a.m. local time.
Cnet says that in addition, telephone lines into and out of Syria appear to have been cut off. Cnet goes on to say that the shutdown of Web and telephone service is a tactic that is used more and more by countries in order to limit the spread of information within their nation and across the world. Both Egypt and Libya cut off Internet access during the uprisings in those nations last year.
USA Today says rebel fighters were continuing to battle Syrian troops holding defensive positions near Damascus International Airport, amid reports of airlines canceling flights into and out of the nation.
Activist groups outside Syria who are opposed to the regime of dictator Bashar Assad said Thursday that Internet service was shut down in the entire country. The unprecedented blackout, confirmed by U.S. Internet firms, comes amid intense fighting in the capital.
Assad blames the revolt on a conspiracy to destroy Syria, saying the uprising is being driven by foreign terrorists and not Syrians seeking change. About 40,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, which began in March 2011 after peaceful demonstrations against Assad's rule were attacked by Syrian forces.
Most of those fighting Assad's regime are Syrians and soldiers who have defected from the military. But foreign fighters are present, and they adhere to an extremist Islamist ideology.