Islamic State attack on Syria truffle hunters kills at least 31: Monitor
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the killing of four shepherds by IS militants in a separate incident, and the abduction of two others.
"A total of 31 people, including 12 pro-regime fighters, were killed while collecting truffles in the desert east of (the central city) Hama," the Britain-based observatory said, according to AFP.
Earlier it reported the death of at least 26 people, a figure confirmed by the official Syrian news agency SANA.
Separately on Sunday, suspected IS militants killed four shepherds in the eastern Syrian region of Deir Ezzor, said the observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources on the ground.
The militants, who carried automatic rifles and rode motorbikes, also stole sheep before fleeing, the monitor added.
Syria's desert truffles fetch high prices in a country battered by 12 years of war and a crushing economic crisis.
Between February and April each year, hundreds of impoverished Syrians search for truffles in the vast Syrian desert, or Badia - a known hideout for militants that is also littered with landmines.
Since February, more than 230 people - most of them civilians - have been killed in IS attacks targeting truffle hunters or by landmines left by the militants, according to the observatory.
The victims included 15 people foraging for truffles who had their throats slit by IS last month.
High price, low wages
In March 2019, IS lost their last scraps of territory in Syria following a military campaign backed by a US-led coalition, but militants remnants continue to hide in the desert and launch deadly attacks.
They have used such hideouts to ambush civilians, Kurdish-led forces, Syrian government troops and pro-Iranian fighters, while also mounting attacks in neighbouring Iraq.
Syria's war has claimed the lives of around half a million people and displaced millions since it erupted in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
Remnants of explosives laid by all sides in the conflict are now claiming more lives in Syria than anywhere else in the world, says the United Nations.
Since 2015, landmines and other explosive remnants have on average killed or injured five people every day, according to UN data.
The Syrian desert is renowned for producing some of the best quality truffles in the world.
The prized fungus can sell for up to $25 per kilo depending on size and grade - in a country where the average monthly wage is around $18.