Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Syrian regime says 'war' against it has claimed Instagram account

The social media platform, however, said the now-restored account was taken down 'in error'

Facebook is restricting its live streaming function. AP
Facebook is restricting its live streaming function. AP

The Syrian presidency says its official account on Instagram was this week shut down, calling it an "unjustified" closure that is part of the "soft war" against the government of President Bashar Al Assad.

The social media site, however, said on Tuesday that the Syrian Presidency account was removed "in error" and has since been restored. The account, which is often used to communicate messages from Assad and his wife, Asma, was working on Wednesday, when The National accessed the page.

The Syrian presidency said it opened a new account, and apologised to its more than 7,000 new followers for the few posts.

In one of only six posts, the presidency said the shutdown was part of an escalating "soft war" against the government after its military successes in the civil war, which is now in its ninth year.

The statement added that the closure came without "prior warning or a logical justification", according to AFP, and was a "deliberate" move that formed part of a "growing siege" imposed on Syria.

The presidency also added that its YouTube channel has previously been blocked a number of times.

The blocking of the Syrian Instagram account came one week after the photo-sharing app shut down the accounts of several Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officials after the US designated it a foreign terrorist group.

The pages blocked inclued that of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force which has fighters in Syria supporting the Assad regime.

The US has tightened sanctions imposed on Syria's government in recent weeks. They were first imposed over Damascus' bloody crackdown on protesters.

Updated: April 24, 2019 11:58 AM

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