In his Friday sermon, an imam at the Palestinian Al-Yarmouk camp south of Damascus gave local residents permission to eat dead cats and dogs. The camp has been under siege for three months, the humanitarian situation there has severely deteriorated and the supply of food has not been steady, reports Shalom Toronto.
Palestinians in Syria are, generally speaking, loyal to Bashar al-Assad's regime, but gunmen from the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) entered the strategically located Yarmouk camp in large numbers, prompting the Syrian army to attack the camp.
The Syrian army, reinforced by Shiite forces from Iraq – the Abu Fadel Abbas militia – and Hizbullah forces from Lebanon, recently launched a massive attack on the rural areas south and east of Damascus in an attempt to clenase them of rebel forces.
South of Damascus, the Syrian effort is directed mainly at Ma'adamia al-Sham, which is located next to an air force base, and toward communities located along the highway that leads to the city of Al-Saida Zainab, which is sacred to the Shiites and where Shiite forces from Iraq and Lebanon are stationed.
Syrian television reported advances on both fronts. At Ma'adamia al-Sham, the civilians were evacuated with the aid of the Red Crescent. On the eastern front, several villages were reportedly captured.
Gil Ronen contributed to this report.