Jan 25 2018

Turkey blocks website showing progress of its Syria operation

Turkish authorities have blocked access to a news website that monitors the military situation in Syria, citing “technical analysis and legal consideration”.

Amongst other features the site, the Map of the Syrian Civil War provides a clickable map of Syria that allows visitors to monitor the progress of Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish-controlled Syrian enclave of Afrin.

There may be several reasons for the apparent blockage of the site by Turkish authorities. Prominent among them is possibly the site’s clear depiction the depth of the Turkish incursion into Afrin. At present the map shows that none of the several prongs of the invasion have progressed far beyond their start lines on Afrin’s borders.

Such information does not fit with the narrative promoted by Turkey’s government-controlled media, which has portrayed the invasion as making better than expected progress.

The site also provides, next to the map a news-feed summarising the latest developments and links them to the map. The content of this feed may also have played a role in the site’s apparent blocking as it contains information provided by sources inside Afrin. 

These have reported details of alleged civilian casualties caused by Turkish air strikes and artillery fire, as well as details of apparent Turkish military setbacks. Again, such information runs contrary to the Turkish government’s narrative.

The project tweeted a statement from its verified Twitter account, saying:

"Liveuamap.com with all sub-domains were banned in Turkey. Same as in Iran, use applications for iOS and Android, or VPN services to access the website"