Internet traffic in Syria, November 29, 2012.
Internet traffic in Syria, November 29, 2012. Photo by Akamai
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BEIRUT - Internet and telephone service were restored across much of Syria yesterday, following a two-day, nationwide communications blackout that came during some of the worst fighting to hit the capital since July.

Renesys, a U.S.-based network monitoring firm that studies Internet disruptions, said in a statement yesterday that service went back up around 4:32 P.M. local time in Syria, describing it as a "largely complete restoration of the Syrian Internet."

The communications blackout began Thursday, raising fears of a burst of fighting outside the public eye. The government and rebels have blamed each other for cutting the lines.

Activists bypassed the communications blackout by using satellite telephones to connect to the Internet.

Yesterday, Syrian troops backed by helicopter gunships clashed with rebels as government forces pushed a major offensive on villages and towns near the capital's international airport, activists said.

The fighting over the past few weeks in Damascus is the most serious the capital has seen since July, when rebels captured several neighborhoods before a swift government counteroffensive swept out the opposition fighters.

In the past, the regime has cut telephone lines and cellular networks in areas where military operations are under way, but the latest blackout was the first to cover the whole country since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.