Did a Russian ‘research ship’ cut undersea cable supporting Syrian IT communications?

Did a Russian ‘research ship’ cut undersea cable supporting Syrian IT communications?
Russian special-purpose ship Yantar (Balzam-class). (Image: Shipyard-yantar.ru, via lainfo.es)

[Ed. – It is, shall we say, not impossible.  Yantar is in fact a suspicious actor.  As to the rest, it’s circumstantial and far from proven.]

A Russian ship that intelligence and military officials reportedly fear can cut undersea Internet cables is near the coast of Syria. And its appearance coincides with what researchers say is a marked uptick in the instability of Internet traffic in that country.

The ship, named Yantar, is currently positioned off the coast of Lebanon and is moving on a northern track towards Syria, according to public vessel tracking data. Dyn, a U.S.-based company that tracks Internet outages around the world, reports a dip in the number of available networks in Syria in recent days.

Undersea cables are frequently cut by accident, including by ship anchors dragging on the ocean floor. It’s possible that the Internet outages in Syria and Yantar’s presence in the neighborhood are merely a coincidence.

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