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In Aleppo, Syrian rebels wage war – with an Internet connection

Combating the constant text messages from regime forces declaring them terrorists, rebels fight an information campaign, sending images of Aleppo's death and destruction worldwide.


Antigovernment Syrian media activists set up an illegal internet satellite to upload photos and video of the destruction by government shelling and bombardment of areas controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Aleppo, Syria, on October 22.

Scott Peterson/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

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The Syrian father thought he had enough dangers to contend with in his contested city of Aleppo. As darkness fell, sniper fire cracked repeatedly along the street outside. Explosions reverberated across the city.

Two nearby bombs that afternoon had cut off all electricity, so he was standing in the dark at the door of his apartment, children clustered around his feet, when his new neighbors arrived, working their way up the interior stairwell with the light of their mobile phones – and bearing a satellite dish.

But this wasn’t just another family, traumatized by three months of fighting here between the Assad regime and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). It was a small group of rebel media activists, college-aged and determined to use photographs and video to show the result of indiscriminate artillery and aircraft bombardment in Aleppo.

Making the link to the outside world is about more than surfing the Web for the rebels. Satellite gear and computers have become a critical component of the effort to challenge President Bashar al-Assad and the regime – and the widespread misperception inside Syria about extent of their reach into people's lives.

The activists were excited as they filed into their dark apartment. “Internet, Internet!” chanted one, speaking about the illegal high-speed connection they were about to create. Onto the dusty floor of the small front room they threw down cardboard boxes of cables and tools, the modems and laptop that would soon connect them to the world.


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