BEIRUT: At least 11 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a central Syria attack blamed on the Islamic State group, a war monitor said Sunday. The IS group “attacked about 75 people on Saturday while they were collecting truffles in the Palmyra area, in the eastern countryside of Homs”, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The attack killed “10 civilians, including a woman, and a member of the (Syrian) regime forces,” it said, adding that others remain missing. Syria’s state news agency SANA reported the attack but gave a lower death toll, saying IS “terrorists” fired machine guns and killed four civilians, including a woman.
Ten others were wounded in the attack, some “critically”, the news agency added. After the jihadists lost their last scraps of territory following a military onslaught backed by a US-led coalition in March 2019, IS remnants in Syria mostly retreated into desert hideouts in the country’s east.
They have since used such hideouts to ambush Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops while continuing to mount attacks in Iraq.
Many people, including women and children, have been targeted in recent years while truffle hunting in central, northeastern and eastern areas of Syria.