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Lights out in Syria: Nationwide blackout brings country to a halt

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   March 3, 2016 at 10:09 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, March 3 (UPI) -- Officials are scrambling to determine the cause of a nationwide blackout in Syria.

"Electricity has been cut across all provinces and teams are trying to determine the reason for this unexpected cut," state news agency SANA reported. "Engineers and technicians are working on finding out why this sudden power cut happened in order to fix it promptly and restore electricity in the next few hours."

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Although electricity is available for only 2-4 hours a day in war-torn Syria -- or not available at all -- nationwide blackouts are rare.

The Syrian Telecommunication Establishment said some Internet services have partially halted "as a result of sudden damage to one of the network hubs" and that repair teams are working to fix it.

Syria has been blighted by a complex civil war in which the Islamic State, the Syrian government and multiple Syrian rebel groups fight for control of territory. The Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad has previously blamed blackouts on rebel attacks, while the United Nations has said that electricity has been restricted as a weapon of war.

A cease-fire in the Syrian civil war between the government and rebels that was brokered by the United States and Russia began midnight Friday.

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