Syria 'bans iPhones' over protest footage

Many of the images showing anti-government protests in Syria have come from amateur footage posted on the internet.

Syria has banned the iPhone, reports say, as the government tries to control information getting out of the country.

In a statement apparently issued by the customs department of the Syrian finance ministry and seen by Lebanese and German media, the authorities "warn anyone against using the iPhone in Syria".

The order also apparently prohibits the import of iPhones.

The UN believes 4,000 people have been killed in Syria since March.

Most international media have been banned from Syria since the uprising began, so footage of the violent crackdown has primarily come from activists filming material themselves and posting it on the internet.

If the document posted on the Lebanese news website el-Nashra is genuine, the authorities threaten confiscation and prosecution for anyone found with an iPhone.

Syrian opposition sources in Beirut confirmed the ban to the German Press Agency (DPA).

Other types of smartphones are apparently not affected by the ban.

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