Syrian Internet service comes back online

Internet service into and out of the coutry was down about eight and a half hours

Internet traffic in and out of war-torn Syria has been restored after a disruption of nearly eight and a half hours, according to Internet traffic charts.

Internet traffic began flowing across Syria's borders again at 6:26 p.m. Damascus time Wednesday, after an outage of eight hours and 25 minutes, according to Renesys, an Internet monitoring company. Google's real-time traffic monitor also showed the country's Internet service dropping off, then coming back online.

Syria's Internet service also went down for about 20 hours May 7 and 8. Syrian authorities then blamed a malfunctioning optic cable.

This time, authorities said a rebel bombing about 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Damascus cut a cable, according to an Associated Press report. That information wasn't immediately available on the Syrian Ministry of Communications and Technology website.

Wednesday's blackout came on the same day that the United Nations General Assembly is expected to approve an Arab-backed resolution calling for a political transition in Syria and condemning President Bashar Assad for his regime's increased use of heavy weapons against rebels in the long-running civil war there.

Renesys CTO James Cowie, in a tweet, questioned whether the latest outage was connected to the U.N. debate. Syrian authorities could order the shut-down of critical switching facilities to disrupt traffic, he said.

A malfunctioning cable could also be a "plausible explanation," although it would have to be a critical location affected, Cowie also said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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