War-torn Syria sees nightly airstrikes in Aleppo, which cause some to fear that the city may not exist by year’s end. This week, Russia agreed to a “humanitarian halt” of these attacks after an entire family of 14 perished in one evening. However, there may be another maneuver at hand. This one is much more subtle but, if true, quite insidious. The Daily Beast reports that the government affiliated Syrian Telecom has announced that, for ten days, 60 percent of its internet services will go on the blink.
The source of this service shutdown, according to Dyn Research, points towards “submarine cable repairs” on cables that shall last from October 19th through the 28th. There could be legit reasons for these repairs (accidental slicing by ship anchors, normal wear and tear). However, a certain Russian ship was recently seen navigating towards Syria. This ship, the Yantar, was reportedly “equipped with cable-cutting technology” and was detected by U.S. officials, who noted a greater presence of submarines near these cables.
Although internet service may seem like an insignificant part of someone’s existence — given how many Syrian residents fear for their lives on a nightly basis in the rebel-held portion of Aleppo — some people see it as a lifeline to the world. And certainly, there are many other uses of the Internet that Russia would seek to quash by (allegedly) taking out these cables. The United States and France have both publicly called out Russia for their actions in Syria, and given how terribly the recent U.S.-Russia brokered ceasefire failed, there’s plenty of reason why Russian ships in the vicinity look mighty suspicious.