Syria appears to lift ban on Facebook and YouTube

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 8, 2011 19:27

BEIRUT  — Internet users in Syria said Facebook and YouTube are available for the first time in three years amid signs Damascus may be lifting its ban on the websites.

The Syrian government did not comment on its Internet restrictions. But several web users in Syria told The Associated Press on Tuesday the sites were accessible for the first time in years without having to tunnel through proxy servers.

The head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, Mazen Darwish, said he has "semiofficial confirmation" the ban is being lifted.

The gesture could be seen as a concession to stave off unrest following popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. But it's not a major compromise by President Bashar Assad, as many Syrians accessed the sites anyway using proxies.


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