Remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group have killed more than a dozen people foraging for desert truffles in Syria’s central province of Hama by cutting their throats, while 40 others are still missing, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said.
“At least 15 people, including seven civilians and eight local pro-government fighters, were killed by Daesh members who slit their throats while they were collecting truffles on Thursday,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based war monitor, said.
Forty others are missing following the attack in Salamiyah district, located 33 kilometers (21 miles) southeast of Hama, he added.
Between February and April each year, hundreds of impoverished Syrians, reeling from years of foreign-backed war on their country, search for truffles in the vast Syrian Desert, or Badia. The region is a known hideout for Takfiri terrorists and is also littered with landmines.
Foragers risk their lives to collect the delicacies, despite repeated warnings about landmines and Daesh terrorists.
The prized fungus can sell for up to $25 per kilogram ($11 per pound), depending on size and grade.
The Syrian Desert is reportedly renowned for producing some of the best quality truffles in the world.
According to the Observatory, Daesh is taking advantage of the annual harvest of the desert fungus delicacy to carry out attacks in remote locations.
Since February, at least 150 people – most of them civilians – have been killed by Daesh attacks targeting truffle hunters or by landmines left by extremist militants, SOHR said.
Earlier this month, Daesh Takfiris killed three truffle hunters and kidnapped at least 26 others in northern Syria.
Back on February 18, at least 68 people picking truffles in a desert of Homs province were killed in a Daesh attack.
The massacre came after Israeli airstrikes on Syria’s capital that killed at least five people and heavily damaged residential buildings.
Daesh's killings in Hama coincided with US air raids against Syrian forces and resistance forces in Dayr al-Zawr which left several people dead.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said the US airstrikes were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden and targeted facilities used by groups opposed to the presence of American forces in Syria.
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