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Facebook, YouTube unblocked in Syria

First time these sites are accessible without using proxy servers in three years

Facebook, YouTube unblocked in Syria
Facebook and other popular social networking sites are now available in Syria for the first time in three years.

Facebook and YouTube have been unblocked in Syria, according to Arab News. This is the first time that users in Syria have had access to either site in three years and may indicate a relaxation in a ban on social networking sites in the country.

Scores of web users have confirmed the sites have been unblocked and can now be accessed without proxy servers.

"Syria to set Facebook status to unbanned in gesture to people," said one tweet.

Reports suggest that the move was a concession to stave off unrest following the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. This seems to be the popular view on Twitter too, with one user stating; "Just heard that YouTube and Facebook is unlocked in Syria just a while ago. Thanx Egypt!"

Social network users in the country have always been able to access the sites through proxy servers, despite the country-wide ban.

Syrian protestors attempted to hold a ‘Day of Rage' to protest President Bashar Assad's rule, organised via social networking and intended to be similar to the protests seen in Egypt on the weekend, but it fell flat when no protestors showed up in Damascus.

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

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