Syria's White Helmets' mannequin challenge falls flat

Syria's White Helmets' mannequin challenge falls flat

An attempt by members of Syria's Civil Defense to draw attention to their plight on social media has drawn criticism for its insensitivity.

Members of the White Helmets filmed a 'Mannequin Challenge' video - where participants pose like mannequins, perfectly still as the camera moves around them.

The White Helmets' version re-enacted a rescue scene in the besieged nation, with a man lying injured and covered in dust and rubble as workers pull him to safety.

"The video intends to raise international awareness about the Syrian revolution in general, and the members of the Civil Defense, highlighting their role and sacrifices in protecting and saving the lives of civilians in Syria," the Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office says.

But it backfired - instead, people are using the video as evidence the White Helmets stage videos of their rescues, which often include young children.

RFS says the accusations prove the "isolation" of the Syrian regime.

"Being ignorant about a huge media campaign such as the 'Mannequin Challenge' in which international figures participated... only proves regime's grave isolation from the world," it says.

It's not the first time RFS has tried mixing a social media trend with the atrocities in Syria.

After popular game Pokémon Go launched and gripped people across the world, RFS released photos of young Syrians holding images of Pokémon saying: "Come save me".

"We want to raise awareness and draw attention to the plight of Syrian children in besieged areas and the suffering of Syrian people who are attacked and killed by the Assad regime and its allies," a spokesperson told The Independent at the time.