A picture circulating on social media appearing to show Syrian rebels butchering a zoo lion is the latest evidence that residents of the war torn country are starving, according to activists.
The photograph, which has not been independently verified, shows three men standing around the body of a lion.
One of them is holding the lion?s head while another appears to be cutting meat from the animal?s hind legs.
What appears to be a chunk of meat can be seen laying on the ground next to the emaciated looking lion.
The animal is thought to be from the Al-Qarya al-Shama Zoo.
While some reports suggest that the men are skinning the animal to use its coat to keep warm, others have suggested that the animal was already dead.
Residents in areas hardest hit by the civil war, including the eastern area of Ghouta, were residents have reported desperate food shortages.
Last month a cleric issued a fatwa to allow starving people in the region to eat cats and dogs.
?We issued a religious edict allowing people to eat dog and cat meat. Not because it is religiously permitted, but because it is a reflection of the reality we are suffering,? said Sheikh Saleh al-Khatib.
?People here have nothing for their children. I am on strike because I want to help save food for others.?
According to the Daily Telegraph, the United Nations said today that civilians are going hungry in beseiged areas as they are inaccessible.
The UN handed out food to 3.3million people in Syria in October.
The World Food Programme added that the nutritional state of those trapped by fighting in parts of Damascus and rural areas has deteriorated significantly in recent months.
The picture has emerged as a report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that a growing number of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Jordan are fast becoming primary providers for their families.
With the Syrian conflict in its third year, the 61-page report highlights the plight of the children, who are growing up in fractured families, missing out on education and increasingly going out to work to help support extended families in exile.
More than two million Syrians fled their homes because of the country?s raging conflict, seeking shelter in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. At least half of the refugees ? 1.1 million ? are children.