Statement from Turk Telekom underlines the war in Syria and points out the conditions of the war (like bombings) could have created some outages in Syria’s cable systems. Telecoms workers in Syria could be avoiding the maintenance practices due to a fear of death. Turk Telekom statement says:
There have been outages and interruptions in the services we provide to Syria Telekom since 11th of August but these problems interruption are wholly linked to problems and outages in Syrias own fiber optic infrastructure.
On the other hand, Renesys, Renesys Corp., a firm that tracks Internet pathways, said Wednesday that a Hong Kong-based company named PCCW Ltd is keeping Syria connected to the Internet . The reason of this routing could be motivated by the anger of Syria government for Turkish support to the opposition forces. This should definitely be considered as a side effect of modern wars.
Big Internet Outage in Syria in June 2011
A stable internet connection is almost impossible in war-torn Syria. There was a long standing outage on 3rd of June 2011 and Renesys announced that situation with these words :
Starting at 3:35 UTC today (6:35am local time), approximately two-thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the global Internet. Over the course of roughly half an hour, the routes to 40 of 59 networks were withdrawn from the global routing table.
In western countries’ newspapers, the internet outages in Syria is interpreted as a possible blockage of Assad government aimed to obstruct the information transfer from the war-torn country to the western world. It is also claimed that there could be a mass protest organization on Friday and government could be trying to stop the information spreading. But telecoms specialists from Turkey point out the recent bombings and claim that it is highly possible that the telecoms infrastructure in Syria is severely damaged and workers are afraid of their lives to go out and fix the problems.
The wide spread internet outage in Syria on 3rd of June 2011 was fixed on the same day around 19:00 UTC (22:00 local time Friday night) .
Syria’s Telecoms Industry
Liberalization studies are still going on in telecoms industry of Syria. According to the recent numbers form 2008, 2009 and 2011; there were 3,8 million fixed telephony lines, 9,7 million mobile phone lines and 4,5 million internet connections in Syria. International internet backbones for Syria are provided by Turk Telekom, Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom. Also there are sub-sea cables to the Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt.
Domestic fixed internet lines in Syria are provided by state run Syria Telekom and links to the international backbones are also managed by this firm. So international connection can be easily cut off or to route from a single point. In mobile telecoms sector, there are just 2 firms in Syria. A bidding for a 3rd operator was canceled because the bidders chose to retreat. Turkcell tried to make an investment in Syria 4 years ago but American government blocked that investment.