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Suspected ISIS attack on truffle hunters in Syria resulted in tragic death of 18

Gunmen believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State group in Syria carried out an attack, resulting in the killing of 18 people who were searching for truffles in the desert on Wednesday

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Gunmen believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State group in Syria carried out an attack, resulting in the killing of 18 people who were searching for truffles in the desert on Wednesday, according to a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Following the assault, heavy clashes occurred with pro-government forces, leaving over 50 individuals missing.

The attackers, suspected to be ISIS jihadists, used machine guns in their assault, leading to significant casualties and the burning of around a dozen vehicles, as reported by the UK-based monitoring group with sources inside Syria. The Syrian desert, particularly the vast northern region known as Badia, is renowned for producing high-quality truffles that fetch substantial prices in a country grappling with 13 years of conflict and a severe economic crisis.

Despite official warnings, foragers brave the risks every year between February and April to collect these prized truffles. The desert is not only a known hiding place for jihadists but is also riddled with landmines, adding to the peril faced by those venturing into the area.

This incident follows a similar tragedy last month when 14 people foraging for desert truffles were killed by a blast from an IS group-planted landmine. While ISIS lost its territorial holdings in Syria in March 2019, remnants of the jihadist group continue to operate in the desert, launching deadly attacks on civilians, Kurdish-led forces, Syrian government troops, and pro-Iran fighters. The broader conflict in Syria, ongoing since March 2011, has resulted in the deaths of over half a million people and displaced millions more.

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