Syria: Al-Qaeda-linked group forbids Twitter trolls

A young fighter of the jihadist group Al-Nusra Front
Image caption An Al-Nusrah Front fighter poses in the Syrian city of Aleppo

The Al-Nusrah Front, one of the major Islamist groups battling government forces in Syria, has banned its followers from engaging in clashes on social media, it's been reported.

While Twitter trolling and abuse has become a hot issue in the UK, the militant group finds it is having similar problems as its supporters argue online with other Islamists. One Twitter account, said to have links with the Al-Nusrah front, posted a link to an article chiding users for recent online clashes between supporters of jihadist groups, warning them to "say positive words or otherwise stay silent". Possibly noting that arguments had gone too far, the post demanded, "What is the use of these tweets and bigotry?"

Recent reports from Syria suggest that the Al-Nusrah Front is probably not winning hearts and minds on the ground, either. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights organisation, recent military operations in the Aleppo area resulted in Al-Nusrah fighters kidnapping some 200 people, and ransacking the town of Tall Aran. In the brutal and confused Syrian situation, however, it is difficult to verify this claim.