For the past 12 days Syria's internet has been mysteriously dropping out across the country at the exact same time on a regular basis. The blackout, which lasts four hours every morning, is followed by mobile networks going dark for a further three hours after. It's not the first time this pattern has happened, so what is going on?

From 31 July 2016 to 11 August the country's internet suffered nine outages lasting from 4am-8am local time. A faulty server perhaps? A co-ordinated cyberattack? The reality is even more extreme it seems as insiders have revealed the blackouts were intentionally created by the government in order to prevent students cheating on high school exams.

According to a blog by Dyn Research, an internet analysis company that reports on network issues around the world, the outages exactly matched the days on which exams were taking place with the most recent coinciding with a chemistry test.

Sources claimed the outage occurs in the morning while the exam is being distributed around the country to prevent the risk of anything being shared. Previous incidents have seen exam questions appear on social media. Then, when the exams begin at 8am mobile service is taken offline to prevent students sharing questions or answers.

This method to stop exam cheats may seem extreme but it's not the first of its kind. In 2015, Iraq allegedly also controlled state-wide internet outages during exams and regions in India and Uzbekistan's government have also been accused of blocking mobile networks to stop cheaters, according to Dyn.

It's something that would cause outrage in other parts of the world but here it appears to be a way of life, sadly. An activist group called Access Now has been fighting the fight to regulate internet control and stop government controlled internet outages with its #KeepItOn campaign. Its aim is to get service providers to push back against government shutdown requests.