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Syria Internet blackout: Country apparently completely offline

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Syria is apparently an Internet-free country for now, according to multiple reports.

The Middle Eastern country, which has been embroiled in a brutal, bloody conflict between the government and rebels, went completely offline Thursday, according to Internet research firm Renesys and AllThingsD.

A post on the Renesys blog says that at about 12:30 p.m. in Damascus (about 5:30 on the East Coast), all 84 of Syria's IP blocks went down, effectively eliminating Internet connectivity in the nation.

According to AllThingsD.com, Akamai, a streaming media company that also tracks worldwide Internet usage, says its data supports the theory that Syria is completely offline.

Activists in Syria reached Thursday by satellite telephone confirmed the unprecedented blackout, which comes amid intense fighting in the capital, Damascus. The hashtag #SyriaBlackout is also making the rounds on Twitter.

Blacking out a nation's Internet is not unprecedented. Egypt went completely offline in the throes of its revolution in February of 2011. Other governments, including in Iran, have also taken similar steps.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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