WWII Weapons In The Syrian Civil War

The use of antiques in combat is something that often is overlooked, as many find greater interest in more modern weapons. However, though these older weapons are as obsolete as they are antique, they are still relevant articles of war, and still certainly lethal. Silent YouTuber jmantime covers the use of some World War II weapons in the ongoing Syrian Civil War:

Each weapon is vignetted with a representative still image, followed by still photos and video footage of the actual weapon(s) in question being used in the conflict. Notable weapons include a chromed or nickeled Beretta 38 submachine gun, a cache of MAS 36 rifles, what appears to be a rearsenaled or civilian production M1 Garand, a PTRS-41 14.5x114mm anti-materiel rifle, and of course several of the StG-44s captured from a Syrian government stockpile by rebel fighters.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • PaulG

    I wonder how many collectors blew their collective load upon seeing that pile of actual StG 44s.

    • Actually, attempts had been made to import than cache as parts kits to the USA several times, with no success.

      Now they’re “liberated” by rebels.

      • MrEllis

        Hopefully the rebels give Assad the ammo back at least…

  • Cahal

    Libya was known to have purchased Italian manufactured Garands.

    • Lance

      Some are from Iran since they used Grands from the 50s till late 60s/70s when replaced by the G-3. Both seeing action in the Iran Iraq war.

  • MANG

    Great topic, good vid. I’ve been very interested in the phenomenon of identifying weapons via social media in Syria & Ukraine these past couple years. Bellingcat is especially amazing.

  • Lance

    So? In Ukraine Ive seen pics of M-91/30 Mosins and PPSH-41/3 SMG and even Vietnam era AKs and SKSs in use with Ukraine and Russian irregular forces.

  • hey buddy

    Israeli Druz- upset at ISIS attacks upon Syrian Druze- attacked an ambulance carrying Nusra(ISIS) fighters injured in Syria to an Israeli hospital for treatment- Israeli police ended up escorting the ambulance the rest of the way to the hospital- one Israeli Druze who was attempting to stop the ambulance was struck and killed

    • Joe Schmoe


      None of that stuff happened anywhere as you said.

      1)- It was Al-Nusra attacks on Syrian druze, not ISIS. Al-Nusra and ISIS have nothing to do with each other.
      2)- No Israeli druze (golan heights druze) were killed or injured. The druze on the Golan heights stopped the ambulance carrying two wounded Syrians and lynched them, killing one of the Syrians and gravely injuring the other.
      3)- What the living f*ck does it have to do with the article Mr. One Post troll?

      • LCON

        just a minor touch up Joe, ISIS and Al-Nusra hate each other.

        • hey buddy

          Its been acknowledged that they are one-in-the-same after aligning their interests

          • Zebra Dun

            Enemies of my enemies who are also my enemies can kill each other. >or words to that effect<

          • “The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy. No more, no less.”

        • All the Raindrops

          different heads of the same 2’headed snake

        • Joe Schmoe

          I know, that’s what I said 🙂

      • hey buddy

        ISIS and Nusra are the same you stupid Hasbara troll- this was all in Haaretz- your racist Israeli news source

        • Dan

          Oh god it’s you again

        • Joe Schmoe


          First off, just by saying ISIS and Al-Nusra are the same, or even similar, shows your complete lack of understanding of the conflict in Syria and a lack of knowledge about those two groups in particular.

          Second, Israel is providing medical aid to ALL Syrians that request, whether it be government, civilians, or otherwise. Guess what, that’s what we do. In the recent Gaza war, we also opened up field hospital for Palestinian, Hamas or civilian, wounded; field hospitals that Hamas shelled by the way. Hell, Hamas’s leader’s daughter herself was being given treatment in Israeli hospitals while Hamas was shelling Israeli cities.

          Third, show me ONE piece of evidence that Israel is providing any arms to anyone in the Syrian civil war. That’s right, you can’t because they don’t you troll.

          Fourth, WTF does the Iraq war have to do with Israel? The Americans and their allies specifically asked that Israel not participate in any actions (even while Israel was being rocketed by Scuds) due to the Americans worried about their alliance with Arab countries. PERIOD.

          Fifth, go ahead and show me that “news source”.

          • He’s gone again—–

          • Joe Schmoe

            Thanks Phil,

            I wonder how these people get by in life with so much hate… their lives would be so much better if they stopped talking for a second and listened, and maybe realized the world isn’t black and white and isn’t as bad as they thought.

      • Zebra Dun

        Well! 1 and 2 are unimportant.
        Number 3 though you got that right!

  • MrEllis

    How much ammo do they have for these things even?

    • Ben

      Right? Where are they finding 14.5×114? I bet that many of these weapons are relegated to guard duty, unloaded and just for show.

      • Jon

        China produces 14.5x114mm actually.

        • MrEllis

          That Garand looked sweet though.

      • andrey kireev

        Ummm BTR-70 and BTR-80 use that calliber MG. Also ZPU-2/4 use that caliber. There are plenty of ammo for it.

        • Ben

          Oh wow, that surprises me. Learn new things everyday!

  • 227

    i like the misfire on the first mosin nagant 🙂

    • The Brigadier

      It appeared to be due to crappy ammo. There is all kinds of old Rimmed ammo out there and most of it is vintage WWII. Its amazing that some of it still shoots at all.

  • eric

    I am deeply shocked and offended by the use of the word “antiques” with regard to the Mosin Nagant M38 in the video.

    • Anonymoose

      Yes, they should have said “C&Rs.” lol

  • MPWS

    As there is allegedly (thru public media) steady feed of Western origin weapons (also hand-held), question is – where are they seen, instead of this antiquity? ISIS in Iraq in particular is currently loading-up heavily with U.S. made weapons.
    In all fairness, it is just not West who is implicated in supporting the conflict; Chinese made portable grenade-launchers are seen in some video. They are rather effective.

  • Wolfgar

    If these historical firearms would have been allowed to be imported to the United States they would be sitting in gun collectors vaults only to be taken out to kill water melons paper targets and the occasional metal plates. Instead they are still killing people in stupid wars. Gun control kills in so many different ways. What a waste of historical firearms and most of all human lives!

    • zardoz711

      I vehemently disagree.

      These are weapons of war, not your grandfather’s Remington or Weatherby. Their purpose is combat and their usefulness is contingent upon conflict.
      These are the guns that MADE history and their role is to keep making history.
      Some of these weapons have seen nearly a full century of combat.
      Of what else could be said the same?
      And you would let them rot in a museum? Or some collectors safe only to be forgotten or brought out and paraded around like some toy on special occasions?
      No! They should live and die on the battlefield alone.
      And when the war is over and the conflict ended they will be put away for safe keeping until they are needed again, because, sad as the truth may be, they WILL be needed again.
      And fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) we CANNOT and SHALL NOT forget them or their usefulness, because until the world becomes a much different place than it is today, they will remain all too necessary.

      • Wolfgar

        My grandfathers hunting rifles are based from weapons of war. Yes I would rather see these weapons in gun collectors vaults or rotting in a museum than see them still kill people in some third world country. How necessary and needed they are in these never ending middle east wars could start a lively debate. Firearms are not toys and until the world is a very different place I would much rather see them in responsible American gun owner’s hands than in any others.

      • All the Raindrops

        well there are about a bazillion mosins, garands, etc here in the US of A for 100% sporting purposes, just like “weapons of war” ar15, ak47, sks, tavor, etc…

        id rather they be in my safe than entrenched in a genocide.

    • The Brigadier

      This is how societies have always dealt with uneducated and superfluous males. Extra males are almost always causing crime and mayhem in society. War does serve many purposes.

  • Jas

    Very interesting to see these old guns in action. Just do not call them antique.
    Much more interesting is, however: Where does the ammo come from? With all obsolete guns ammo is the problem. 30-06 might be obtained, as can 7,62x54R. But where to get 7,5 French, or even worse 7.92×33?
    I wonder whether these guns came with a few full mags and after those are empty the guns are discarded.

    • Anonymoose

      Learn to reload with super-light 8×57 bullets, or buy from Prvi (the only major manufacturer that makes 8mm Kurz afaik) or some boutique manufacturer, I guess. Civies in Pakistan use it in their AKs because their government b& 7.62×39.

    • Sledgecrowbar

      If the StG 44’s were taken from a government stockpile, they certainly would have had plenty of ammo stockpiled with them.

      Here’s hoping the conflict ends soon.

    • The Brigadier

      Probably. Most of them acquire weapons from dead comrades or dead government soldiers. Ammo too.

  • Jas

    I would hate to fire that PTRS Russian antitankrifle with the scope so far back. Sure to demolish your eybrow.

  • Zebra Dun

    I bet the M-1 Garand users miss those numerous and already loaded ammo clips, I imagine they collect them after the spring out too.

    • The Brigadier

      Filling a Garand magazine is certainly a painful exercise.

  • Alex Nicolin

    I wonder where they get ammo for the MAS-36 (7.5×54 mm) and the STG-44 (8×33 mm).

    • Former Syrian army stockpiles. They had tons of ammo for both rifles.

  • MRHapla

    No Lewis guns? Maxims?

  • Simcha M.

    The images of the raghead holding the Garand made me cringe and the two camel jockeys in the background are both wearing IDF-issue (2nd generation by my eye) Efod one-piece LBEs.

  • Scot168

    Must be a logistics nightmare and also I noticed some didn’t say Allah chocolate bar when they fired their weapons.

  • The Brigadier

    Most of those Syrian rebels shown are Al Qaeda. The ones in the black masks are ISIS There is no Arab Spring. The monsters of Al Qaeda and ISIS are trying to overthrow the monster Assad who is keeping them in check. Its hard to be sympathetic to either side. I guess we are all lucky all they have in the way in weaponry is beat up old rifles and SMGs. I hope all the monsters get what is rightfully due them – a swift death.

    • Doom

      Ill take Assad over ISIS. At least Assad minded his own business and didnt burn/drown people in crates or blow their heads off with det cord…

      • The Brigadier

        Assad invaded Lebanon and fought a protracted war for five years against the Christian Phalangists and made Beirut, “the Paris of the Mid-East” a martial hellhole. He has also funded Hamas against Israel with both money and weapons. Until recently his troops were still in Lebanon. He is a monster and a state sponsor of terrorism. Make no mistake, he is actively trying to destroy Israel, and if the jihadist insurgents defeat him, Israel will have no choice but to nuke Syria and destroy ISIS there. It really is galling to choose one monster over another one isn’t it?

        • Doom

          Not Really, ISIS has attacked several countries in Europe and the US. At least all you mentioned were nearby Syria. If they were actively trying to destroy Israel it would be obvious, as they would be marching troops into the country. and what nation besides maybe Jordan doesnt want to wipe Israel off the map?

          We were better off with all the old dictators in charge keeping their people in check rather than removing them from power and now having ISIS gaining in strength each day.

  • The Brigadier

    People still buy and train with swords and spears and although they are no longer used in war, they do still kill occasionally. I am beginning a 5th degree Kempo program and one of the disciplines I must learn to progress is advance sword fighting with a katana and a wakizashi (shorter sword). The world’s societies won’t let these skills die out. Personally if I encounter any sword carrying enemy I am going to face him with my .357 magnum.

  • Doom

    Sad to know all these old guns will be left to rust away or blown up in the hands of these terrorists. Especially those MP44’s…damn… Not that our own backwards government wouldn’t have them destroyed as well to make them importable in bastardized Semi auto variants with new receivers and barrels and many other non original parts. Makes me sick.

  • Mustascheo

    And we in this “free” country can’t even easily or cheaply get a suppressor to protect our ears.