Suspected ISIS terrorists killed at least 26 people in central Syria on April 16, in the latest in a series of attacks targeting people hunting for expensive truffles in the region.
A source in Hama Police Command told the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency that the victims came under attack near the town of Duezin in the eastern countryside of the governorate, without providing any further details.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group based in London, alleged that ten of the victims were pro-government fighters.
Between February and April each year, hundreds of Syrians search for truffles in the vast central region where ISIS cells have been waging an insurgency for the last few years. More than 200 people have been killed in the region since the start of the year. The majority of the victims were truffle hunters.
One of the deadliest attacks took place in the eastern Homs countryside on February 17. Back then, at least 53 people who were collecting truffles near the town of al-Sukhnah were killed by suspected ISIS terrorists.
All the recent attacks in central Syria were reportedly carried out by ISIS cells. However, the terrorist group has so far refrained from officially claiming responsibility.
The Syrian Arab Army and its allies deployed additional reinforcements in the central region in the last few weeks and conducted a few combing operations. A series of Russian airstrikes also hit ISIS cells and their hideouts in the region. However, the terrorist group is still highly-active, especially in the desert area between Hama and Homs.