Internet, mobiles blocked in Damascus
Cairo - Internet and mobile telephone networks were cut in several parts of the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday, activists said online, ahead of mass anti-government protests planned across the country.
The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria, an online group that documents protests, said internet and mobile phone networks have been cut in the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Harasta.
On Thursday, the group published a document it said was issued by the office of the head of national security giving orders for the internet in the eastern part of the country to be blocked, and for connections to be slowed down in the rest of Syria.
The authenticity of the document, dated May 22, could not be verified independently.
Telephone and internet service have been heavily disrupted since protests began three months ago.
Authorities granted permits for two pro-government demonstrations to be held on Friday in the capital, the group said, adding that the decision was taken to provoke clashes with the anti-government protesters.
Over the past three months, mass demonstrations calling for political reform have been taking place regularly on Fridays, after prayers at mosques.
More than 1 300 civilians have been killed and 10 000 detained since protests erupted in March, according to local human rights groups.
Protesters are calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.