Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has tweeted a picture that compares Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles.

The picture contained the captions: "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."

Trump posted the picture along with this comment: "This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016."

The tweet sparked outrage on social media, with some users saying that Trump is being insensitive and generalising the issue. It also prompted a wave of tweets saying that he was belittling the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis.

However, the tweet was not original. It was previously posted by Joe Walsh, a conservative talk radio host and a former Republican congressman.

A spokesperson for Wrigley, the manufacturer of Skittles, told CNBC in an emailed statement: "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing."

Some Twitter users juxtaposed the word Skittles with distressing pictures from the Syrian war. US President Barack Obama's former speech writer, Jon Favreau in response to the tweet sent out a picture of the 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who became the face of the horrors of the Syrian civil war on children.

American Singer and entertainer John Legend, was not impressed.

Around 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war which has been raging for over 5 years. Half of the Syrian population are now either refugees or displaced inside their country.

In August, the Obama administration announced they have reached the goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US.