Even during unrest, Syria still connected

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New York - A firm that tracks the pathways of the Internet says a Chinese company is keeping war-torn Syria connected to the Internet as other telecommunications companies withdraw.

The Syrian government ultimately controls Internet connection to the outside world but it's a major route for rebel communications and news from the country as the civil war intensifies.

Hong Kong-based PCCW is now carrying most of the Internet traffic to and from Syria, according to Renesys, a Manchester company that studies the structure of the Internet.

PCCW has shouldered the load as Turk Telecom, the main phone company in neighbouring Turkey, dropped away August 12. It's not clear what killed its connections to Syria, but Turkey has protested the Syria regime's actions. China is one of Syria's few international allies.

Renesys said that Telecom Italia of Italy and Deutsche Telekom of Germany also carry some Syrian Internet traffic, but the Italian company's share is declining for unknown reasons.

Turk Telecom and Telecom Italia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Syria is connected via undersea cables to Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt, and PCCW is a part-owner of some cables running through the Mediterranean Sea. - Sapa-AP

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