"Unfortunately, today's Internet outage in Syria is just the latest communications blackout in the country's long-running civil war," says Doug Madory, a researcher at Renesys. "The link to Turkey, established last summer, appears intact, which is consistent with outages over the past few months. Aleppo's outages occur independently from the country-wide blackouts."
Cybersecurity firm Akamai's State of the Internet monitoring service showed a similar disruption.
A group calling itself the "European Cyber Army" is claiming responsibility for the outage on Twitter and in a posting to text sharing site PasteBin. In the note on PasteBin, the group calls the outage retaliation for attacks on western systems by the Syrian Electronic Army -- an unofficial group of pro-Assad regime hackers that have gone after prominent western figures and media outlets, including The Washington Post.
"As far as ECA's claims that they caused the outage, I don't see anything different so far," says Madory. "Their claim would be much more credible if they had announced it before Syria went down."
Update: Renesys is now reporting Internet access has been restored in Syria after a seven plus hours. Post sources in the region confirm the Internet is back online in Damascus.
After service was restored, the state-own Syrian Arab News Agency, posted a statement attributing the outage to a "breakdown in the optical fiber cable."