Screen grab from the video.
In a video published on October 28, two men are filmed skinning, cooking and eating a cat, allegedly because they face dire food shortages in their neighbourhood of the Damascus suburbs. While it is not impossible that Syrian civilians may have resorted to this where the fighting is fiercest and life the hardest, this video appears to have been carefully staged to create maximum impact.
The video was first posted on the YouTube channel of a group calling itself the “South Damascus Media Bureau”, which has published several dozen other videos, mostly of rebels doing battle. The footage lasts 1 minute 30 seconds, and is titled “Catastrophic humanitarian situation: people are eating cats in the south Damascus region”.
The man behind the camera narrates, and talks about a fatwa – an Islamic law – pronounced by Damascus imams in October, authorising starving Syrians to eat cats and dogs
. The voice says: “For those who still don’t believe it: here is the situation of residents to the south of Damascus. The sheiks pronounced their fatwas, and the people here are putting them into practice”. Contrary to pork, the Quran does not explicitly forbid eating cats or dogs. However, it is contrary to Islamic traditions.
According to our Observer, who lives in Damascus, there are several details in the video that call into question its authenticity.