Rare Russian MTs-116M Sniper Rifle Seen In Use By Syrian Army Female Fighters

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

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.

A Republican Guardswoman looks past the telescopic sight of her MTs-116M sniper rifle. Image source: ajel.sa
Image source: ajel.sa
Two Guardswomen overlook a position with an MTs-116M rifle. Image source: shaamtimes.net
Syrian Army female fighters overlooking a position. A Kalashnikov AKM rifle is propped up against the wall to the left, while the fighter on the right is using an MTs-116M sniper rifle. Image source: 2.ch.hk
Shots of what appear to be a different pair of female fighters with the MTs-116M rifle. Image source: nk.org.ua

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.

Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

More by Nathaniel F

Join the conversation
2 of 42 comments
  • Rogertc1 Rogertc1 on Dec 26, 2015

    They are so young...

  • John John on Dec 29, 2015

    Either its a photo op or they are horribly trained, you do not put the rifle barrel outside your cover, always a few feet in. Its like advertising you are there.