Syria is gradually experiencing a return of electrical power after a blackout left the country without power or Internet access for several hours on March 3.
The state-run SANA news agency reported that Syria’s electricity was cut off, although it did not explain why, according to Reuters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that most governorates in the country had experienced a power outage.
"Electricity work has been cut in all governorates,” SANA wrote. “Attempts to find the cause of the outage have begun."
SANA quoted the country’s electricity minister, who said the network was slowly beginning to return and would be back to normal but midnight that same day. Although no official explanation was given for the loss of power, the Syrian Ministry of Electricity said in a Facebook post before the blackout that militants in the city of Hama had damaged part of a power-generating station, according to CNN.
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The Syria Telecommunications Company said Internet service, which was also cut for part of the day, experienced a partial failure "as a result of sudden damage to one of the network hubs.” This issue was later fixed.
Syria has had ongoing problems with electricity during the country’s five-year civil war. Satellite imagery taken in 2015 showed that 83 percent of lights in the country have gone out since 2011, according to RT. The issue is particularly acute in Aleppo province, which has been hit hard by government-led and Russian-supported airstrikes, and ISIS-controlled Raqqa, which serves as a base for the Islamic extremist opposition group.
The war in Syria has severely damaged the country’s infrastructure, with opposition groups reportedly destroying power plants and other elements of the electric grid. The government has pledged to continue subsidizing what little power is left, according to RT.
“The government continues to subsidize staple food products, as well as the electricity sector,” Prime Minister Wael Halqi told the Syrian parliament in February 2015.