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Anonymous takes over Syrian government site

Hacktivists claim to have replaced Ministry of Defense site with a message to citizens and the military that has cracked down violently on a political uprising.

There's been chatter about targeting the Syrian regime on Twitter and IRC channels where purported members of hacktivist groups like Anonymous hang out, but now it looks like those folks have gone and done it.

Anonymous says it replaced the home page of the Syrian Ministry of Defense site with its logo and a call for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad. As of this writing Monday morning, the site was inaccessible.

A version of the logo and message were posted to a mirror site.

Anonymous claims to have replaced the Syrian Ministry of Defense homepage with a message blasting the regime. Screen capture by Eric Mack/CNET

The message addresses both Syrian citizens fighting against a regime that has responded violently to an "Arab Spring"-inspired uprising and the military forces that have been doing the cracking down. It was posted in both Arabic and English:

To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side -- tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime's brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.

To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al-Assad has done. Defend your country -- rise up against the regime! -- Anonymous.

A message on the AnonymousIRC Twitter account claimed responsibility for the hack this morning.