Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad has joined the social media photo sharing site Instagram with the username SYRIANPRESIDENCY. The account's bio says, "welcome to the official Instagram account for the Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic."
The account has 85 posts and pictures and 30,842 followers as of Thursday afternoon. The photos are glossy snaps of Assad and his wife Asma.
The State Department said the SYRIANPRESIDENCY account is "noting more than a despicable PR stunt." State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said today, "it's repulsive that the Assad regime would use this to gloss over the brutality and suffering it's causing."
According to recent estimates by the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-and-a-half year old civil war.
Harf encouraged people to "see what's really happening right now in Syria," by "look[ing] at unfiltered photos of what's actually happening on the ground."
"They're not indicative of the horrific situation on the ground that he's causing for his own people," Harf said.