ISIS kill 15 truffle hunters in central Syria

ISIS kill 15 truffle hunters

Islamic State (ISIS) militants have killed 15 people who were foraging for desert truffles in central Syria, according to a war monitor.

The victims, who included seven civilians and eight pro-regime fighters, were reportedly attacked on Thursday by ISIS fighters who slit their throats. Another 40 people are currently missing.

The Syrian desert truffles are in high demand and fetch high prices, making them a target for impoverished Syrians looking to earn money.

However, the vast Syrian Desert, or Badia, where the truffles are found is also a known hideout for jihadists and is littered with landmines.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that ISIS has been targeting truffle hunters since February.

Most of the victims have been civilians, with at least 150 people killed so far.

The militants have also been planting landmines in the areas where the truffles grow, making foraging even more dangerous.

Despite repeated warnings about the risks, foragers continue to risk their lives to collect the delicacies.

Truffles provide income

The Syrian Desert is renowned for producing some of the best quality truffles in the world, which can sell for up to $25 per kilo.

In a country where the average monthly wage is only around $18, the truffles provide many Syrians a much-needed source of income.

However, the profits have come at a high cost, with many people losing their lives in the process.

This is not the first time that ISIS has targeted truffle hunters.

Earlier this month, the militants killed three people and kidnapped at least 26 others in northern Syria.

The attack happened near positions held by pro-Iran forces. In February, ISIS fighters on motorcycles opened fire on truffle hunters, killing at least 68 people.

Following the military onslaught backed by a US-led coalition, ISIS lost their last scraps of territory in Syria in March 2019.

Since then, the remnants of the group have mostly retreated to hideouts in the desert, from where they have continued to launch attacks on civilians, government troops and pro-Iranian fighters.

The war in Syria has claimed the lives of around half a million people and displaced millions since it began in 2011.


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