SDF Forces With Modified Zastava M93

    The mostly Kurdish composed Syrian Democratic Forces were recently pictured in combat against the so-called Islamic State with a modified Zastava M93 Black Arrow anti-material rifle. The M93 is chambered in either .50 BMG or the Russian 12.7x108mm cartridge. The M93s in use by not only the SDF but also elements of the Kurdish Peshmerga are most likely in 12.7x108mm due to the ample supply of Russian ammunition in the area of operations. Kurdish forces have been known to have been using M93s for some time now

    Kurdish forces have been known to have been using M93s for some time now in their fight against the Islamic State, but this recent development shows a particular Zastava M93 that has been modified with a raised picatinny rail and Fab Defense SSR25 buttstock with a raised cheek piece to accommodate for the higher scope mount. The scope is unidentified at this point but appears to have parallax adjustment and an illuminated reticle, in addition to very tall turrets that suit the long range adjustments of the cartridge. It is possibly Russian due to the presence of a number of cheap Russian scopes that have appeared throughout the region. The scope is also completely different than other scopes in use on unmodified M93s in use elsewhere with the Kurds, identified by an orange cap on the windage adjustment turret. At first glance, it would appear that the rail has come off a Remington X2010 but it doesn’t really fit the profile.

    Initially, we considered the possibility of the rifle being a modified Aspar Arms M93 copy being produced in Armenia but the direction of the carrying handle doesn’t match that of the Aspar Arms rifle. The presence of these modifications looks to be professionally done and thus begs us to consider the possibility of a number of these modified M93s in service with the SDF. Whether or not the modifications were done by the Kurds or elsewhere is an answer that we are still looking for.

    Fab Defense SSR-25

    Aspar Arms M93 copy


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

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