Syria: ISIS hunts down people harvesting desert truffle

Syria: ISIS hunts down people harvesting desert truffle
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Nearly 100 truffle harvesters have been killed by ISIS members in the last 10 days, and the victims include Syrian troops and fighters of armed factions.

The Islamic State (ISIS) have been "setting traps" in Syria to hunt down civilians and fighters who go out in the desert to harvest truffle ("kama" in Arabic), and nearly 100 people have been killed in the last 10 days, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

Recently six members of an armed faction from as-Safirah in Aleppo governorate were killed in an ambush by ISIS members while collecting desert truffle in an area in Raqqa countryside, SOHR said.

61 civilians from al-Sukhnah, east of Homs, and seven Syrian troops at a checkpoint in al-Sukhnah countryside were earlier killed in attacks carried out by ISIS members on motorcycles.

The bodies of victims taken to the Palmyra state hospital had gunshot wounds to the head, Syrian state news agency SANA cited the hospital's head as saying.

The number of victims in ISIS attacks in the Syrian desert since February 10 has risen to 96, according to SOHR.

Desert truffle, a precious commodity, is a significant livelihood for the people in the region, and groups regularly head to the desert to harvest it.

A kg of truffle is reportedly sold for 75,000 Syrian pounds (approx. $30) to three merchants working for the Syrian military (the 4th division), while the same amount is sold for 180,000 Syrian pounds (approx. $71.60) in the Syrian capital.