Syrian Rebel with Israeli FAL Rifle

The Telegraph published this fascinating photo. It shows two members of the Syrian anti-goverment group known as the Free Syrian Army. The rebel in the foreground appears to be armed with an Israeli FN FAL with a low-zoom tactical-style scope mounted atop.

The Israeli FN FAL has a distinctive fore-end, heatshied and flash-hiderless barrel.

The modus operandi of countries supplying weapons to rebels is to supply weapons that would be associated with a third party and not able to be traced back to them. This gun was probably supplied or sold to the rebels by a neighboring Arab state from an old stockpile of captured Israeli weaponry. The FN FAL was Israel’s standard service rifle during the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War.

Can anyone identify the scope and scope mount?

[ Many thanks to jimflat6 for emailing us the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Clay

    Looks like this cheap NC Star scope but the mount is different. My guess would be NC Star copied the design from somewhere.

  • Lance

    I doubt be a Israeli FAL maybe a close copy looks similar to Libyan FAL which the Islamic Government of Libya supports the Islamist forces in Syria. Alot a after market and spar parts via black market make most of the rebels arsenal. Im sure there plenty of AKMs with UTG style upgraded features the Syrians bought for them.

    Since most Syrian opposition forces are Iranian like Islamist movements I very doubt Israel will support the either side of this war.

    • deimos

      First of all, most Syrian opposition forces are not, in fact, “Iranian like Islamist movements”. The SNC (Syrian National Council) and FSA (Free Syrian Army) are dominated by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which is a Sunni salafist (Bin Ladenite) movement and only marginally like the Iranian government. These groups are funded primarily by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, which are hardly friends with Iran. The rest of the opposition consist of a variety of mostly secular and some religious organizations that want more freedom, not an Islamic republic/caliphate.

      Secondly, Israel is likely to play both sides of the conflict for various reasons. On the one hand, they will want to curtail Iran’s influence in the region. On the other hand, Al-Assad’s regime has been very good to Israel in the past. Israel probably hasn’t decided yet if they want him gone or not because regime change in Syria would probably only be a short-term benefit.

    • Nater

      Israeli (and its protector, the US) has supported Islamist movements for decades in one way or another, originally to act as a counter weight to the secular, Pan-Arabist organizations backed by the USSR.

      Nation states do what they believe is in their interest, no matter ideology or morality. If Israel thinks it is in their interest to support nasty, hyper-Islamist militias, they will do so.

      • Rangefinder

        They are pawns. The longer we can play with pawns the longer we have to adapt our strategy against the more important pieces.

      • W

        Nater you are absolutely right. We were once friends with Jihad and Bin Laden (providing money and material support) when they were fighting the Soviets. After his mujahideen offering was turned down, Bin Laden was butt hurt that Saudi Arabia chose 500,000 US troops and their state of the art equipment to protect their kingdom from Saddam right before the Gulf War.

        The US tries to “keep the barbarians at each others throats”. It is a geopolitical strategy mentioned in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard”, which details the pillars necessary for American dominance in the Eurasian continent.

      • Paul

        Let’s face it though, they hardly need help from the US to keep at each other’s throats. The main problem is the tribal aspect of their society and the sheer zealotry that some extremists in each particular Islamic sect hold that “we are right and everyone else is wrong,” which fuels these little feuds of theirs. Even if you could get most of them to get along… you would still have most of the Middle Eastern states at odds with Iran, simply because historically, Persians and Arabs don’t get along.

      • W

        a seized up wheel gets no grease…

        my point with that pan-Arabism is possible, though it has always been in the interests of global superpowers to keep them at each others throats. If we leave the middle east, who knows what will happen…it certainly has never been done before.

        It is no different than US economic warfare in central america, western africa, and other parts of the middle east. the world is ultimately more peaceful when countries on other continents are not meddling in a region’s affairs. Blaming tribalism and religion are cases of blaming the victim.

        of course, the US finds itself in a pickle. It cannot intervene in Syria to pull off the thorn in its side because that nation has agreements with Russia, Iran, and China. Intervention has every possibility of igniting a massive war.

        There’s another book called “The Sorrows of Empire” by Chalmers Johnson that explains the US predicament with Syria.

      • Tim V

        So the same salafist guys who were sending over suicide bombers and arms into Iraq when i was there now want our help hmmm what should we do?

    • Lance

      I still dont think Israel is directly supporting the war in Syria But the black market on firearms is sure benefiting on this war.

      Just hope the Islamist there stay there and dont take the Jihad against us again.

  • Lance

    Dose it say what town these pics are form??

    • Simon_the_Brit

      The Barrel is not unique to Israel, thats what the early FN Fals looked like.

      IIRC the flash hider is internal.

      • Roger

        Not only that but Syria purchased thousands of them in the early ’60’s. That has more than likely come from a Syrian armoury.

  • Jim

    The Syrian rebels have been buying up small arms in Lebanon and Iraq. It could be from a private sale, or it could be “surplus” from the Labanese Army wich has received weapons from the IDF, or it could have came from a “re seller” in one of the Christian militias in Lebanon that were also once armed by the IDF. Notice how the barrel has the boss for a bayonet lug but no flash hider/muzzle brake. That is unique to Israeli model FALs. Their bayonets had prongs above the grip at the back of the blade that served as a muzzle brake/flash hider.

    • Simon_the_Brit

      Whoops, meant to comment here not in the other post. Confused ? well I am 😉

      The Barrel is not unique to Israel, thats what the early FN Fals looked like.

      IIRC the flash hider is internal.

  • Joe Schmoe

    The scope looks like the Israeli El-Op Eyal 3×20.

    • givati 435

      probably israeli eyal scope that was used in the first lebanon war by the south lebanon army how fought with the IDF against the HIZBALA terror organision

      the south lebanon army was armed mainly by old IDF supllies

  • Trev

    Tactical style? Really?

  • Vhyrus

    God that is a beautiful gun. Hey buddy, lemme know when you’re done with it. I’ll make you a great offer.

    • Mike Knox

      Can’t shake the silly bazaar voice reading your comment..

  • RickH

    Just like the AK, the FAL will be in use somewhere for years to come. I wish I still had mine.

    • Tom – UK

      If you are in the US you can buy new production ones from DSA I believe.

    • W

      Ill sell you a Belgian pre-ban FAL. One kidney and a liver, no other offers.

  • Brandon

    Why no flash-hider? I can’t think of any advantages to running a combat rifle without one, and it’s really not that expensive to add. Even AKs have some type of flash-hider, even if it’s just the cone type or a slant cut at the muzzle

    • Komrad

      Those are muzzle brakes, not flash hiders on AKs (usually).

    • schizuki

      The standard FAL hider is pretty long. Maybe the Israelis decided reducing the overall length of the rifle outweighed the advantages of a hider.

  • adolf_stalinski

    They should get surplus G-3s, plenty of them around

  • Alistair Knox

    Whatever the outcome(I hope the rebels win),arms dealers must be making a killing-usually from both sides in a conflict.The FN is an awesome piece of engineering-South African Army issue in 1977 when I was conscripted.(Damn glad I never had to carry the emotional scars of shooting anything more than targets myself.)Unfortunately,it was only ‘on loan’-we weren’t trusted to keep them at the ready at home like the Swiss-just as well,as S.Africans seem to be rather trigger-happy.Many local Cape Town road signs bear bullet-holes,especially after weekends-that’s big city,not deep in the country.

    • Mike Knox

      Dood, are we related?

  • Gidge

    The rifle appears to be in remarkable condition for it’s age. It’s clearly been refurbished.

    Chances are Israel sold them off in the mid 70’s. Somebody’s probably buying up and refurbishing them and selling them. A refurbished FAL with a decent scope would make a very attractively priced battle rifle.

    Australian SASR (and I think the British SAS) used refurbished SLR’s (British commonwealth manufactured version of the FAL, most were semi auto only) as Battle Rifles up until relatively recently, seeing action in Afghanistan

  • EthanP

    I can think of two sources for Israeli FALs in rebel hands. Capture in 1973 on the Golan Hts. Quite a few Israeli soldiers were captured on both fronts in the first hours of the war. While the Egyptians seem to have treated POWs well, most captured by Syria were executed.

    However, I expect that most FALs in Syria were given by Israel to allies in Lebenon.