With power cut to many areas, Syrian rebels have found unique ways to communicate. In the past, we reported on citizens using carrier pigeons to order food and other supplies, a unique and old school method to find your fellow rebels and to ask for help. Now it has been discovered that many fighters are using satellite phones and Skype in a 21st century effort to stay connected.
Syrian officials issued a country wide internet blackout to keep rebel members at bay; however, internet phone internet access cannot be easily controlled by a single country and is therefore considered an effective means of communication.
The satellite phones are being utilized to gather and share information about enemy military movements and to order attacks. Communication hubs were setup by sneaking operational communications devices into the country. The New York Times reveals that, in one cause, a laptop with four battery backups and a generator was used to host a Skype video chat.
Internet connections are slowly coming back online throughout Syria, but rebels are believed to be preparing for further shutdowns in the event of government attacks.
In one report, it was stated that the Free Syrian Army, the rebel group fighting the Syrian government, has “relied almost entirely on Skype” for their wartime communication efforts.
Using Skype as a means of communication has also afforded the group another added benefit, the ability to piggyback off Skype’s very strong encryption platform. The Syrian government has turned its attention to hacking actual rebel computers rather than specific Skype based conversations and video chats.
Skype chats across satellite phone connections do come with some dangers, specifically the ability for the satellite phone to be tracked if an active connection is discovered.