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Syria has cut itself off from the internet and shut down cellular service

Syria has just cut itself off from the internet, reports internet monitoring firm Renesys. (Update at 11:18 a.m. ET: The above chart from Akamai confirms the shutdown.) Telephone service is also down, Syrian activists tell the AP. Previously, the government has cut off access to communications in pockets of the country, usually when commencing a military operation, but this is only the second time that Syria has cut itself off from the internet entirely.

Internet and cellular connectivity has been an essential enabler of the distributed communication of Syria’s leaderless revolution, leading to fears that the government would eventually cut off communications networks entirely. One of the rebels said on Twitter that they are prepared for a communications shutdown:

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