Apple's iPhone is Reportedly Banned in Syria

As Syrian protests are escalating, authorities are apparently taking measures to prevent protesters and rebels from getting organised, communicating and recording government violence.

According to Israeli news site Haaretz, the Syrian authorities have prohibited the use of iPhones inside the country. Pro-democracy activists revealed they had received a notice from the Syrian Finance Ministry's Customs Department which stated: "The authorities warn anyone against using the iPhone in Syria".

Not only activists could be punished under the new order, but also iPhone sellers, importers and tourists or journalists using an iPhone while they are on Syrian territory, it has been reported.

Some newspapers warn that owning an Apple handset and using one in public could imply to the authorities that the iPhone user is a foreign spy. Analysts say that one of the reasons the Syrian government has taken such drastic measures, is to prevent people from recording and broadcasting government acts of violence against activists.

Western journalists were expelled during the initial stage of the protests that have shaken the country since the spring, before being allowed to return in June.

It is not clear why the ban has not been extended to other brands of smartphone with camera and video recording capabilities.

Perhaps the Syrian authorities think Apple symbolises western imperialist power, which they believe is behind a conspiracy to topple the government, as was the case in Libya.