Ahmad F Al-Shagra
Co-founder of Nadrus.com, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer. Co-founder of Nadrus.com, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer.
Update at the foot of the post.
In what appears to be an act of confidence, today marks the first day in 5 years that YouTube and Facebook will be publicly accessible to the Syrian people.
Syria’s state-owned incumbent fixed line operator ISP, the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) requested from its licensed distributors to permit access to Facebook and Twitter which should come in effect as of today.
The news has been flowing in through Twitter and Facebook stating: “Facebook & YouTube unblocked in Syria as of today. STE asked ISPs to remove the firewall”.
The decision comes in the wake of a recent social popular uprise throughout the Arab nation against repressive regimes which has been creating instability in repressive countries, which President Bashar Al-Assad told the Wall Street Journal last week that Syria didn’t have to worry about.
“Syria is stable. Why?” Mr. Assad said. “Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people. This is the core issue. When there is divergence…you will have this vacuum that creates disturbances.”
Ever since utilizing the social platforms by Syrian opposition (characterized by the Syrian Kurdish minority) in 2007, YouTube & Facebook have been marked unfriendly to the Syrian regime (and in effect the Syrian people), which forced Syrian people to reach them using proxies and VPNs.
Other websites like Amazon and Wikipedia have yet to share the blessed unblock, which we hope will change in the near future.
And while Syria blocks some services from its people, the country still suffers from a technology blockade which includes services such as Google’s App Engine and even Chrome Web Store.
We hope the Syrian regime continues opening up the country to platforms that will help embolden it’s people, allowing them to actively take part in the country’s reform, both offline, and online.
Update: We’ve received confirmation from sources inside Syria that Blogspot, YouTube, and Facebook are now unblocked in Syria by some ISPs inside Syria while others are expected to follow suit tomorrow Wednesday Feb 9th.
Additionally a Google Traffic report shows an unprecedented spike in traffic on YouTube originating from Syria as of this evening.
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