Russian and Arabic language news sites are reporting that the Russian MTs-116M sniper rifle has been seen in use with Syrian Arab Army forces, specifically female fighters. The rifles, based on the successful MTs-116 target/hunting rifle, are equipped with 5- or 10-shot detachable box magazines, similar in pattern to those used in the famous Dragunov SVD designated marksman rifles. Accordingly, the sniper rifles are chambered for the 7.62x54mmR Russian cartridge, the oldest military small arms cartridge in the world that has been continuously in service with its parent country.
The fighters are reportedly members of one of the women’s divisions of the Republican Guard of Syria, fighting outside Damascus, near the village of Jobar.
According to Ajel.sa, Al-Assad’s government began allowing women to serve in the Republican Guard in 2014. Women fighters reportedly have a great effect on ISIL/Daesh forces, as they apparently consider it a dishonor to die at the hands of a woman. As a result, numerous highly publicized units containing or comprised entirely of women have been formed by the enemies of Daesh.
The Syrian civil war has caused numerous strange and wonderful weapons to come out of the woodwork to be used once again. We’ve reported numerous times on the weapons used in the conflict, including a homemade 23mm rifle, remote-controlled StG-44, and weapons from WWII turning up to fight again.