After a two-day blackout, internet services resumed on Saturday in and around Damascus and in major cities according to press reports from inside Syria.
The communications outage made it difficult to follow the situation on the ground as fighting reportedly intensified between pro-government and rebel forces, especially in the area close to the Damascus international airport.
With the conflict showing no signs of abating and communications becoming increasingly difficult or unreliable, a “spontaneous campaign of solidarity [ar]with the silenced Syrian people,” started on the internet.
In a show of support for the Syrian people, netizens started tweeting under the hashtag “#هنا_دمشق”, Arabic for #This_Is_Damascus. During these times of siege and blackout, people from cities around the world are invited to offer Damascus a temporary refuge.
The campaign is a reminder of the “From Damascus… This is Cairo!” call, that was broadcast from Syria at the height of the Arab-Israeli war of 1956 when French and British fighter jets, eager to prevent the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt’s Nasser, attacked Radio Cairo transmitters, successfully silencing Egyptian broadcasts.
#This_is_Damascus is the most thoughtful, touching, and historically-rich hashtag that has come out for the Syrian revolution thus far.
— BSyria (@BSyria) November 30, 2012
prometheus_92 says [ar]:
#This_Is_Damascus.. The Syrian revolution flag flies high in Jerusalem.
— TheُQuَssaْy (@prometheus_92) December 1, 2012
Some people inside Syria were also able to join the campaign. As in 2011, Google and Twitter re-activated Speak To Tweet, a service that allows users to post an audio tweet by calling a designated international phone number and leaving a voice message, like this anonymous caller who simply called to say:
— Faress (@farGar) December 1, 2012
Rime Allaf writes:
You can take a Damascene out of Damascus, but you can never take Damascus out of our hearts. #This_is_Damascus هنا دمشق
— Rime Allaf (@rallaf) December 1, 2012
Razan Ghazzawi writes:
Our hearts ache not only in worry for our comrades, those legendary comrades. Our hearts ache for longing for their posts, their thoughts, their power and contagious strength. Oh you’ve just missed a revolution, if you think they’re offline.
Syria is not offline.
The rest of this world, is.
I miss you, comrades. It hurts.
you cannot unplug the revolution. ##هنا_دمشق
— Abu Adib (@SarabNY) December 1, 2012
Taher Ishaid adds [ar]:
I have a very strong feeling that the end of Bashar [al Assad]is approaching, but I hope that Syria will maintain its unity after his departure, #This_Is_Damascus
Written by Hisham Almiraat