ISIS militants kill three truffle hunters, kidnap 25 in northern Syria
Shafaq News/ Three Syrian workers were killed and more than 25 others were kidnapped by militants from ISIS-affiliated cells while harvesting Truffle, a wild thorny plant known as "zemr" in Arabic, in northern Syri, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
The attack occurred in the desert area of Khunayfis, in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo, where the workers were collecting the plant, which is used to make flour, for sale.
"Gunmen, likely affiliated with ISIS cells, targeted the workers gathering the 'zemr' in the Khunayfis desert," said the Observatory, adding that the attackers "killed three workers with knives and kidnapped at least 26 others, including women, to an unknown destination."
The incident has not been reported by state-owned Syrian media.
Since the start of the 'zemr' harvesting season in February, ISIS has been carrying out attacks on workers in the Syrian desert, which include shooting and kidnapping operations.
According to the Observatory, at least 139 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the beginning of February as a result of sudden attacks carried out by the extremist group or by mines planted during its control over vast areas of Syria.
Despite the risks, residents of the areas bordering the Syrian desert continue to collect the plant, which is sold at high prices due to the difficult economic conditions resulting from the 12-year-long war.
The price of one kilogram of the plant ranges between $5 and $25, depending on the quality and size of the fruits.