Security firm Renesys earlier detailed the blackout via its blog, noting that the totality of Syria’s 84 IP blocks had been knocked offline, resulting in minimal web access.
North American-based hosting companies, according to the newspaper, host servers administering the operation of several Syrian government-backed web presences.
One such is the website for the country’s state news agency (SANA), which most recently was hosted through SoftLayer (SoftLayer, for its part, has insisted upon its compliance with U.S. regulations.)
Despite the web blackout, the websites remained accessible in areas outside the country due to hosting overseas.
“This most recent Internet disruption in Syria highlights the issue of Web hosting and how the regime is able to make use of servers outside Syria to promote its message while locally hosted sites are down,” stated Citizen Lab senior researcher Helmi Noman in the New York Times report.
So why are web hosts backing away? At issue is a provision requiring U.S. hosters to receive authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department before they can do business with the middle-eastern country.
It’s often common, however, that hosting firms don’t always know exactly which data they’re providing for. SoftLayer wasn’t the only web host who had to deal with issue. Another Syrian website hosted by HostDime.com also pertained to the matter. HostDime is currently working to address the concern.