Clerics in Damascus have issued a religious ruling that allows starving people to eat cats and dogs.

The clerics appealed for humanitarian aid.

“How does the world sleep with full stomachs while there are hungry people, and not far from the main city [Damascus],” a leading imam said on Monday. The Southern Damascus Media Office broadcast the report, and Al- Arabiya TV picked it up.

While Muslims are busy on the hajj to Mecca, “there are people who died from hunger,” the imam said.

“Haven’t you heard the fatwas that have filled our streets and mosques by permitting people to eat cats, dogs and other animals that have already been killed by the bomb attacks?” he said. “Are you waiting for us to eat the flesh of our martyrs and our dead after fearing our lives?” An imam in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus also issued a fatwa permitting the eating of cats, dogs, and donkeys, the London-based daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Sunday.

The camp and several other areas in Damascus have been under siege for more than three months and the Syrian regime has sealed off the area and prevented the entry of food.

Last year a similar fatwa was issued in the Syrian city of Homs allowing the eating of cats, dogs, and donkeys.

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