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IS militants have repeatedly preyed on those searching for the fungus, with more than 150 people killed this year.

[...] A kilogram (2.2lb) can fetch more than the country's average monthly wage.

[...] IS fighters maintain hideouts in the desert where they grow.

-- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-65295892

So, were all those people killed because of random encounters with IS, blowing the hideouts/cover? Or does IS claim the truffles for themselves, i.e. they use that instead of oil now to finance what's left of their movement? Or is truffle picking just forbidden according to their interpretation of Islam?

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    Comments deleted. Please don't use comments to speculate on what the answer might be. If you want to answer the question, please write a proper answer that fulfills our quality standards.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 14:50
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    Hm, this is an interesting question but not sure how related it is to poltiics. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:23
  • More details from the article: "Syria's state-run Sana news agency cited a police source as saying that IS militants attacked a group of civilians in the village of Duwaizin, in the eastern countryside of Hama, killing 26 of them. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) . . . put the death toll at 36 and said the victims included at least 17 fighters from the pro-government National Defence Forces. The window of time in which to make money is small as the truffle season only lasts from February to April." I wouldn't have even guessed that truffles grow there.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 23:07

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From the article in New York Times looks like it is not very obvious who is actually killing the pickers. In the large desert region where many have been killed, battles between warring parties are continuing after more than 12 years of a war that has not ended.

From the other side, the article contains the sentence suggesting that this may be done by the same forces that offer kind of protection for them, in order to dissuade from going alone (protection racket). This still goes as far as another armed group attacking the pickers protected by the armed guards.

Looks like it is possible to hire the armed guards that protect the pickers but then they take half of the harvest.

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    That makes some sense. In one story, 53 were killed in one attack 46 civilians and 7 soldiers. I suppose the latter were hired as guards. dw.com/en/… There's also the fact that they were killed "near an Iranian garrison", but it's not clear if any of those killed were Iranian. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 15:21

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