So it appears the al Assad government is becoming more like the Mubarak government.
The Internet shutdown severely disrupted the flow of the YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter posts that have allowed protesters and others to keep track of demonstrations, since foreign news media are banned and state media are heavily controlled. Both land lines and cellphones are so frequently monitored by Syria’s feared secret police that Skype had become a major means of communication among activists, and its loss as a tool may be a blow to the protest movement. Government Web sites, including those for the Ministry of Oil and the state news agency, SANA, remained online.
Two-thirds of Syria’s Internet network went offline at 6:35 a.m. Friday, said James Cowie, an analyst at Renesys, an Internet analytic firm, in a cascading blackout that took 30 minutes.
Forty of the country’s 59 Internet pathways were disabled, including Syria’s entire 3G mobile network, run by the country’s only telecom provider, Syriatel, which is owned by Rami Makhlouf, Mr. Assad’s cousin.
“People that want to use their smart phones to Tweet or read Web pages cannot,” Mr. Cowie said. “All of the IPs on those phones appear to be down.”
Phone service was also heavily disrupted across the country, and for the past several days, rights activists have reported that water and electricity had been shut off in a string of towns in central and southern Syria