Without explanation, Twitter has suspended the official account of the Russian embassy in Syria after it posted a video critical of the controversial ‘White Helmets’ group, citing statements by the Russian military.
“Twitter suspends accounts that violate Twitter rules,” said the default notice on the grayed-out page of @RusEmbSyria on Tuesday. The social media platform notoriously refuses to comment on individual suspensions.
While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow has yet to offer an official statement on the suspension, the Russian embassy in South Africa has chimed in, calling Twitter “thought police” for banning their colleagues.
The account was banned after posting factual criticism of the ‘White Helmets’ quoting the Russian military, the embassy said.
While an archived snapshot of that tweet was not available, other Russian embassies – in the UK and Canada, for instance – have posted videos and photos critical of the ‘White Helmets’ and their verified accounts remain active.
So does the account of the US embassy in Syria, despite the fact that it has been physically closed since February 2012, and these days tweets mostly press-releases from the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
Founded by a British intelligence operative, the ‘White Helmets’ claim to be a Syrian civil defense group. However, they operate solely in areas controlled by militants fighting against the government in Damascus, and have been accused of having connections with terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda.