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Damascus wants Google, Facebook to join regime-controlled 'alternative internet'

Earlier this year, Syria announced an online social media platform to rival Facebook [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 June, 2019

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Syrian authorities have announced plans to isolate internet users with a cut-off network while demanding online giants place copies of their websites inside the parallel system.

Syria authorities have announced plans to isolate internet users with a cut-off network, it will demand online giants place copies of their websites inside the parallel system.

The head of the war-torn country's network services agency, Fadia Suleiman, made the comments to Arabic-language news website Al-Iqtisadi on Tuesday.

Suleiman said that an internet exchange point (IPX) would be set up to regulate internet traffic in and out of Syria.

The official said that "external content providers" such as Google and Facebook would be invited to place copies of their services inside the portal.

"The benefits of an IPX is that all information will go through one point… this will allow access to content even if the network is disconnected from the external internet," Suleiman explained.

She added that the isolated network would be operational by the end of this year.

Earlier this year, a Syrian official said the regime was developing an online social media platform to rival Facebook days after Instagram shut down the account of the Syrian Presidency.

Authorities blamed the move on a "growing siege" that has been imposed on Syria since the start of the country's war in 2011.

They said further measures would follow as part of a so-called "soft war" being waged on the country, now that "the military conflict is receding".

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