CAIRO – An image of Syrians skinning a zoo lion has went viral on social media websites, with many people referring to it as reflecting Syrians’ dire need of food and others seeing it as a message to the regime of Assad (Arabic word for lion), The Independent reported.
“Out of food, residents of Ghouta, east Damascus, have slaughtered a zoo lion,” Ariane Bonzon, who identified herself on Twitter as a journalist writing on #Turkey + #Middleeast, wrote.
Appearing Last week, an image showed Syrians cutting up a lion.
The image, which has not been independently verified, were reportedly taken in Al-Qarya al-Shama Zoo, in East Ghouta.
Going viral on social networks, the photo was circulated as an example of the levels of sheer desperation many have reached in the war-torn capital.
“Starving Syrians butcher a zoos LION to eat in worst sign yet of how desperate civilians are for food #Syria,” @DAlmansoori1 wrote on Twitter.
“This is terrible, a zoo lion slaughtered to feed people in Ghuta, in rural Damascus,” Ezzedine Said added on Twitter.
With the exact circumstances surrounding the animal's death remaining unknown, some reports claim the men are skinning the dead animal to use its coat for warmth as temperatures drop
Others have suggested the seemingly emaciated animal was already dead.In a fatwa reportedly issued last October, Syrians, who are desperately hungry, were told to eat dogs, cats and donkeys to survive in the war-torn country.
A similar message was allegedly conveyed in a YouTube video which showed a group of religious leaders outside Damascus issuing a fatwa permitting the eating of cats, kittens, donkeys, and animals killed in shelling.
As the Arabic word for lion is 'Assad', there is also conjecture that this a message to the regime.
“Lion ate by #syria rebels beside a symbolic meaning ( #assad means lion) comes from zoo where bab al hara was filmed,” Dona said on Twitter.
“An image that shows desperation of Syria's hungry? Or just a misunderstood,” American Syrians wrote.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in two years and a half of fighting between Assad’s regime and opposition fighters in Syria.
The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.
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